CBABC receives regular updates from the Courts, LSBC, LTSA, and others. We will update this page as information becomes available to us. 

Health & Safety Protocols

Courthouses across the province are increasing in-person appearances. Read the latest directives and learn about protocols implemented by the government and the courts to ensure the health and safety of all legal stakeholders.

Guides to Virtual Court Proceedings

Using Microsoft Teams in Online Court Proceedings

These guides were prepared to support lawyers who are appearing in a court conducting proceedings using Microsoft Teams on a desktop computer or by telephone.

Best Practices in a Zoom Courtroom

This guide outlines best practices to work with the technology, to adapt to the online courtroom, and addresses relevant security issues. Download the Guide.

Court of Appeal for BC
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This Notice replaces the Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal for British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19 issued 10 June 2020. The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started on 18 March 2020 and is being extended from 29 June 2020 to 13 July 2020. No other information regarding filing instructions, video conference appeals, or teleconference chambers applications has changed.

1. Introduction

On 17 March 2020, 30 March 2020, 20 April 2020, and 27 May 2020, the Chief Justice of British Columbia issued directions modifying the operations of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia to protect the health of litigants, court staff, judges and members of the public and to help contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

This new notice, which applies to civil and criminal appeals, replaces the 17 March, 30 March, 20 April, 27 May  and 10 June notices and provides new information regarding the suspension of service and filing deadlines. In particular:

1.1 Suspension of service and filing deadlines

The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications started 18 March 2020 and has been extended from 29 June 2020 to 13 July 2020.

1.2 Continuation of court operations

Despite the suspension of service and filing deadlines being extended until 13 July 2020, the following information has not changed:

  • The registry is accepting filings in all matters, and parties are encouraged to advance their appeals if they are able to do so.
  • In civil appeals, electronic filing is now mandatory for all parties.
  • The Court will hear all appeals, including those that are not urgent, by videoconferencing using the Zoom platform, unless otherwise directed.
  • The Court will hear all chambers applications and Registrar’s appointments, including those that are not urgent, by teleconference or in writing. For all new chambers applications or appointments, litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act, Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives.

2. New Appeals and Applications for Leave to Appeal

2.1 Required Time Periods to Commence Civil or Family Proceedings

The required time periods to commence civil or family proceedings stopped running on 26 March 2020. For further details review Ministerial Order No. M098. This means that until further notice you may start an appeal if you wish to do so, but, if you are unable to start an appeal, you can wait without concern that the limitation period to start civil or family proceedings will expire.

The suspension of time periods started on 26 March 2020 and will remain in effect until the state of emergency declared under s. 9(1) of the Emergency Program Act on 18 March 2020 expires or is cancelled. This means that any notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal that needed to be filed before 26 March 2020 is still subject to the usual timeline to initiate, including those that needed to be filed between 18 March 2020 and 26 March 2020.

2.2 Required Time Periods to Commence Criminal Proceedings

Parties should continue to file and serve notices of appeal or applications for leave to appeal in criminal matters within required time periods.

3. Existing Appeals and Applications

3.1 Filing and Service Deadlines

The filing and service deadlines for all existing appeals, existing applications for leave to appeal, and other existing matters before the Court were suspended by direction of the Chief Justice and they will remain suspended until 13 July 2020. This means that the required time periods to file or serve materials stopped running on 18 March 2020 and will not start to run again until 13 July 2020. Beginning 13 July 2020 you will have the same amount of time to file and serve materials as you would have been entitled to on 18 March 2020.

For clarity, the Chief Justice has further directed that the operation of s. 25 of the Court of Appeal Act is also suspended from 18 March 2020 until 13 July 2020, meaning that matters will not be placed on the inactive list or dismissed as abandoned by operation of s. 25 during this period.

Neither the direction of the Chief Justice effective 18 March 2020 nor Ministerial Order No. M098 suspends the timelines for taking a step required by court order or direction. However, litigants can expect the Court will likely consider the exceptional circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor if an extension is sought.

Despite the suspension of deadlines until 13 July 2020, the registry is accepting filings in all matters, including matters that are not urgent. Parties are encouraged to advance their appeals and to communicate with one another on how they will proceed.

3.2 How to File Documents and Materials

As discussed above, the registry is open to accept all filings. However, to support social distancing, the registry counter is closed and all documents must be filed in the following manner:

3.2.1 The Filing of Documents in Civil Appeals

All parties must use electronic filing through Court Services Online (CSO) for all documents in civil appeals except those discussed below. For clarity, the Court will not accept filings by fax, mail or courier in civil appeals, unless the document cannot be electronically filed or submitted by email as described below.

Despite Rule 54.1(5), the only documents that the Court will continue to receive outside of the e-filing system, or by email as described below, will be:

  1. a motion book; 
  2. a reply book; 
  3. an appeal record; 
  4. an appeal book; 
  5. a form of order submitted for entry. 

Please do not contact the registry for assistance with electronic filing, as the registry will not be able to help. Parties who have never used electronic filing can initiate the process by signing up for BasicBCeID at https://www.bceid.ca/. Anyone having difficulty with electronic filing can email Courts.CSO@gov.bc.ca or call toll free within Canada 1-800-663-6102 for assistance.

For all material filed by any electronic means (Court Services Online, email, or on memory stick):

  • The use of coloured covers and any requirements for tabs will be dispensed with.
  • Filings must be in proper court forms, be legibly scanned, in PDF, and in Arial 12-Point font.
  • Scanned filings must be OCR’ed (i.e. use Optical Character Recognition so that the PDF can be copied and pasted from into another document).

To File Memorandums of Argument and Books of Authority: These documents must be electronically filed through Court Services Online. However, books of authorities are only to be filed where a party cannot hyperlink in their submission or factum an authority to an open source, such as CanLII or Lexum. Books of authorities may not exceed 10MB in size. Any memorandum of argument must observe the three-page limit set in Filing Written Argument in Court of Appeal Chambers (Civil Practice Note, 1 March 2012).

To File Factums and Transcripts: Parties must now file factums and transcripts by submitting them via email to appealrecords@bccourts.ca and the requirement to file a paper copy is suspended. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed. The requirement to file transcript extract books in civil appeals is suspended. The formatting and naming requirements in the Court’s directive, Submission of Electronic Factums and Statements (Civil & Criminal Practice Directive, 2 July 2019) must be followed both for factums and for transcripts (by analogy). Hyperlinks to open-source authorities are required, as discussed above.

To File Motion Books, Reply Books, Appeal Records, Appeal Books, and Orders: For filing these documents, parties have two options:

  1. They may file by fax if the document is 20 or fewer pages, and otherwise meets the requirements set out in the practice directive on Use of the Facsimile in the Court of Appeal. The prohibition in this directive on filing bound materials is suspended.
  2. Paper copies or memory sticks containing electronic copies of these filings may be mailed or couriered to 206 – 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver British Columbia, V6Z 2E1, Attention: Court of Appeal Registry. Please note that the registry will not process these filings for 24 hours, given COVID-19 risks, but will backdate documents to the date they were postmarked or delivered. Please do not deliver any copies besides those required by the Court. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed and, for that purpose, you must provide an email address on the cover of the document to be filed. You should serve the remaining copies of your document together with a copy of the stamped cover page.

If none of these options are possible, please call the registry at the phone numbers listed below in Part 5 of this Notice.

3.2.2 The Filing of Documents in Criminal Appeals

To File Factums, Transcripts, and Statements: Factums, transcripts, and statements must be filed in accordance with the directions above in section 3.2.1 that apply to factums and transcripts in civil appeals.

To File Books of Authority: Despite the fact that e-filing is not yet available for criminal appeals, the requirements that apply to books of authority in civil appeals apply also in criminal appeals: they do not need to be filed unless the factum, statement, or written submission cannot by hyperlinked to open source authorities.

To File All Other Documents: For other documents in criminal appeals that cannot be submitted electronically as above, the parties have two options:

  1. They may file by fax if the document is 20 or fewer pages, and otherwise meets the requirements set out in the practice directive on Use of the Facsimile in the Court of Appeal. The prohibition in this directive on filing bound materials is suspended.
  2. Paper copies or memory sticks containing electronic copies of these filings may be mailed or couriered to 206 – 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver British Columbia, V6Z 2E1, Attention: Court of Appeal Registry. Please note that the registry will not process these filings for 24 hours, given COVID-19 risks, but will backdate documents to the date they were postmarked or delivered. Please do not deliver any copies besides those required by the Court. You will receive an email attaching a scan of the stamped cover page as confirmation that the document is filed and, for that purpose, you must provide an email address on the cover of the document to be filed. You should serve the remaining copies of your document together with a copy of the stamped cover page.

If none of these options are possible, please call the registry at the phone numbers listed below in Part 5 of this Notice to discuss other options.

3.2.3 Future Enhancements to the E-Filing System

The government e-filing system is being enhanced by the Court Services Branch to allow for as many documents as possible to be filed through Court Services Online (CSO).

Please check back for further notices, as the requirements for those documents that presently cannot be e-filed may change rapidly.

3.3 Appeal Hearings

All hearings scheduled on or after 4 May 2020 will proceed by videoconference unless otherwise directed. Parties will not be permitted to adjourn appeals on the sole basis that they would prefer not to proceed by videoconference. Appeals may also proceed in writing by approval of the Court on consent request addressed to the Registrar.

Until a permanent, enterprise videoconferencing solution is provided to the Court by government, hearings will proceed using Zoom, a commercial service that has been employed successfully to conduct hearings in other courts, such as the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Instructions on logistics and Court etiquette will be provided to the parties in advance of a Zoom hearing, so parties can understand the proposed process. Parties will be expected to become familiar and test their video and audio capabilities using the Zoom platform before any court hearing.

At least 14 days before an appeal hearing, litigants must complete and submit the Court Proceedings by Video Conference Form to advise the Court about: (1) who will be attending the hearing; (2) any concerns about the privacy or confidentiality of information that will be involved in the video proceeding; (3) any personal concerns about attending by video; and (4) proposed steps to mitigate any of the concerns identified. At the appeal hearing, litigants must expect to address the nature and precise extent of any publication bans or sealing orders (including who those orders apply to and their exact terms).

Further details on accredited media or public access to video hearings will be forthcoming. Any access questions should be directed to The Honourable Bruce Cohen at scjcommunicationsofficer@courts.bc.ca.

3.4 Chambers Hearings

All chambers applications will proceed by teleconference unless otherwise directed. For all new chambers applications, litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act, Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Rules and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives. Chambers applications may also proceed in writing by approval of the Court on consent request addressed to the Registrar.

The Court’s capacity to hear a full chambers list may remain compromised. As such:

  • Litigants should coordinate with one another before filing a chambers application and should be prepared to meet all subsequent filing and service deadlines set out in the Court of Appeal Act and Rules.
  • Litigants must check the online list of available dates before filing a chambers application in accordance with Booking Civil Chambers Applications (Civil Practice Note, 8 May 2017), and should check again just before e-filing.
  • Litigants should be patient with the occasional need to re-book chambers applications to other dates, given expected demands. The chambers scheduler, as a Deputy Registrar, has the final say on the reassignment of dates, if necessary (no appeals to the Registrar).

Given the need to conduct chambers matters by teleconference and get materials to the presiding judge, the late filing of chambers materials will not be permitted.

3.5 Hearings before the Registrar

All hearings set to proceed before the Registrar will proceed by Zoom, teleconference, in writing, or as directed by the Registrar. As with chambers, for all new appointments, litigants must file and serve materials according to the timelines required under the Court of Appeal Act and Court of Appeal Rules, Criminal Code, Court of Appeal Criminal Rules, and the Court’s Civil and Criminal Practice Directives. Parties may also request or consent to an appointment being heard in writing only.

3.6 Matters Scheduled to be heard between 18 March 2020 and 1 May 2020

All appeal hearings, chambers applications and other matters that were originally scheduled to occur between 18 March 2020 and 1 May 2020 were adjourned unless designated by the Chief Justice as matters that must proceed. Those hearings have largely been rescheduled for June, though the Court is also sitting throughout the month of July to address any backlogs.

4. Self-Represented Litigants

Self-represented litigants are expected to comply with the modified processes set out in this notice.

Access Pro-Bono has a dedicated appeals program. If you require assistance contact Heather Wojcik 604-424-8286. You can also visit accessprobono.ca or call 604-878-7400 or 1-877-762-6664 to find out more information about Access Pro-Bono emergency telephone clinics that have been set up in response to COVID-19.

5. Registry Contact Information

General Inquiries: 604.660.2468
Maria Littlejohn, Court Scheduler: 604.660.2865
Manjit Gunglay, Chambers Scheduler: 604.660.2859
Kristine Dhamrait, Registrar Scheduler: 604.660.2729
Fax filings: 604.660.1951

Mail or Courier: Vancouver Registry

BC Court of Appeal
The Law Courts
206 - 800 Smithe Street
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 2E1

Dated  24 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

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Note: this Notice replaces the Notice to the Public Regarding Access to Court Proceedings During the COVID-19 Pandemic dated 29 April 2020

Introduction

On 20 April 2020 Chief Justice Bauman directed that, beginning 4 May 2020, the Court of Appeal will hear: (1) all appeals, including those that are not urgent, by video conference using the Zoom platform, unless otherwise directed, and (2) all chambers applications and Registrar’s appointments, including those that are not urgent, by teleconference or in writing, unless otherwise directed.

The Court of Appeal is taking the following steps to ensure that accredited media and other members of the public have access to, and can observe, court proceedings during this exceptional time. The Court of Appeal is committed to the open court principle and will be examining additional steps to ensure all members of the media and public can access Court proceedings. The Court asks for patience as it works to fulfill its appellate function and Constitutional functions while adopting new technology and procedures.

Access to Video and Teleconference Proceedings

The Court’s weekly hearing list and chambers list are updated daily and indicate which matters are proceeding by video conference or teleconference.

Access to Video Conference Proceedings

To observe matters proceeding by video conference click on the public link provided on the Court’s weekly hearing list. This will allow you to join the video conference as an observer live from your device. Note that the public link may not be posted until the morning the video conference is set to proceed and, if you do not already have the Zoom application downloaded on your device, you can follow the prompts to install it, or join the meeting over the web. In order to maintain appropriate decorum during a video conference proceeding, the judges and the people making submissions to the court will not be able to see or hear the people observing.

Access to Teleconference Proceedings

To observe matters proceeding by teleconference submit a Request to Attend Teleconference Proceedings no later than 12 noon the day before the hearing date. Late requests cannot be processed in time to respond with the dial-in information you will need.

The number of callers that can be connected through a single teleconference number is limited and priority will be given to parties to the proceeding and members of accredited media. More than one person may listen to the proceeding from a single phone.

Note that counsel are permitted to share connection details with their co-counsel and clients if they will be listening from separate phones, however, connection details should not be shared with anyone else. Counsel are asked to inform the registry if they require connections for more than 10 separate telephones.

In order to maintain appropriate decorum during a teleconference proceeding you must dial into the teleconference at the set time. The court will not disrupt ongoing proceedings to connect you. Additionally, anyone observing must mute their microphone so as to limit the possibility of disruptions from background noise.

Policy on use of electronic devices in courtrooms

The Court's Policy on the use of electronic devices in courtrooms applies to all court proceedings including those conducted remotely by video or teleconference. This means that members of accredited media may audio record proceedings for the limited purpose of verifying their notes. Any other audio or video recording of the proceeding including screen shots or other photographs is prohibited. Anyone who uses an electronic device in a manner prohibited by the policy is subject to sanction, including prosecution for contempt of court.

Media Participation in Court Proceedings

In any appeals where the media wishes to make submissions, such as where a publication ban is opposed or challenged, accommodations for participation will be arranged in the same manner as for other parties, detailed in the Court’s updated Notice to the Public dated 20 April 2020.

Media Access to Digital Audio Recordings (DARS)

Any requests for access to court audio recordings (post-hearing) by accredited media should be made by completing the usual access to audio request form and attaching a remote access to DARS undertaking to the automatically generated email before submitting the request. Requests will be processed by Court Services Branch personnel in the usual manner. If access is granted the requestor will receive an email confirmation and a link to a digital FTP site to remotely access the requested audio recording.

Access to Court Records

The Court will continue processing requests for access to the court record in the usual manner as prescribed under the Court of Appeal’s Record and Courtroom Access Policy.

Dated 14 May 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Robert J. Bauman
Chief Justice of British Columbia

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This Notice to the Public contains detailed information about the video conference hearing process, including etiquette and decorum, for appeals beginning 4 May 2020. It includes a step-by-step guide to appearing in a Zoom video conference proceeding.

Supreme Court of BC

Message to Members

In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of British Columbia is proceeding with judge-alone trials and most chambers matters (among other proceedings). The government has advised that registries will be accessible as of July 13, 2020. There are courtrooms available. There are judges available. There are phone lines available. If you have a trial that does not currently have a scheduled date, and counsel and the litigants are ready to proceed, you are encouraged to contact your registry's trial scheduler to advise that you are ready to proceed and your request will be considered by the Chief Justice.

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COVID-19 Notice No. 32
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice supplements the following notices:

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed.

In COVID-19 Notice #25, the Court announced the resumption of some regular court operations. This Notice provides further directions in regard to hearings before the registrar, which willresume in accordance with the procedures set out in this Notice.

I. Bankruptcy Hearings

Until further notice, bankruptcy hearings before a master or registrar will resume, with the trustees attending in person at the following locations:

  • Vancouver
  • New Westminster
  • Victoria 
  • Nanaimo 
  • Kamloops 
  • Kelowna 

Trustees must attend by telephone at the following locations, where there is no resident master or registrar:

  • Prince Rupert
  • Prince George
  • Nelson
  • Vernon

Hearings at Prince George, Prince Rupert, and Nelson will be conducted by a master or registrar at the Kamloops registry. Hearings at Vernon will be conducted by a master or registrar at the Kelowna registry.

Trustees are to contact Supreme Court Scheduling at the relevant location to bookblocks of hearing times and provide the telephone number they wish to use for the hearing.

Because of social distancing requirements at courthouses (see COVID-19 Notice No. 27 and the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations), interested parties will not be able to appear in person but may appear by telephone. Until further notice, paragraphs 4 and 5 in Administrative Notice 12 regarding telephone attendance for interested parties do not apply. Interested parties wishing to file materials must follow the directions set out below. Trustees should advise Supreme Court Scheduling when booking hearing times that interested persons wish to appear by telephone and provide the interested person’s telephone number. Depending on the number of parties attending remotely, the court clerk will arrange a conference call or dial the interested person directly.

Materials

Filed Documents

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. For methods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

When filing Form 81 under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, all trustees must provide their contact details, including phone, address, and email address.

Hearing Materials and Hearing Records

Trustees must prepare their hearing materials and hearing records in accordance with Administrative Notice 12. All hearing materials and hearing records must be submitted in hard copy.

Prince George, Prince Rupert, and Nelson matters will be heard in Kamloops, andhearing materials and hearing records should be sent to the Kamloops registry. Vernon matters will be heard in Kelowna, and hearing materials and hearing records should be sent to the Kelowna registry.

Trustees appearing by telephone are required to deliver hearing materials, using the drop box (until the registries resume in-person services) or by mail or courier set out in the Court’s COVID-19 Notice No. 8 and subsequent COVID-19 Notices, at the registrywhere the matter will be heard no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. Late materials will not be accepted.

Trustees appearing in person must retrieve their hearing materials and hearing records at the conclusion of the hearing. For trustees appearing by telephone, hearing materials and hearing records will be securely destroyed at the conclusion of the hearing.

If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the hearing materials or hearing record for 10 business days. If a trustee does not reset the adjourned application within that time period, the contents of the hearing materials or hearing record will be securely destroyed.

II. Other Registrar’s Hearings

Until further notice, all other hearings and pre-hearing conferences before the registrar will resume by telephone, unless the registrar directs otherwise.To schedule matters, please contact the appropriate Supreme Court Scheduling location in accordance with Appendix A.

Materials

Filed Documents

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. For methods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

The Appointment (Supreme Court Civil Rules, Form 49 and Supreme Court Family Rules, Form F55) must identify one of the following places as the place of hearing and indicate that the hearing is by telephone:

  • Chilliwack
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Nanaimo
  • New Westminster
  • Prince George
  • Vancouver
  • Victoria

The Appointment must include the telephone number and email address of the person taking out the Appointment. Where the Appointment hearing date is set by Requisition following a pre-hearing conference (see Administrative Notice 8) the person must include their telephone number and email address on the Requisition.

Hearing Records

The person taking out the Appointment must prepare a hearing record in accordance with Rule 23-6(3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules or Rule 22-7(3.1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Hearing records must be submitted using the drop box (until the registries resume in-person services) as set out in the Court’s COVID-19 Notice No. 8 at the registry where the matter will be heard no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. Late materials will not be accepted.

The hearing record must include a cover page and comply with the requirements in Administrative Notice 14.

Following a telephone hearing, hearing materials and hearing records will be securely destroyed, unless the hearing is adjourned. If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the hearing materials or hearing record for 10 business days. If the matter is notreset within that time period, the contents of the hearing materials or hearing record will be securely destroyed.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 30, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A

REGISTRY FILE LOCATION CENTRALIZED PLACE OF HEARING AND SUPREME COURT SCHEDULING
CONTACT INFORMATION
  • Chilliwack
CHILLIWACK
604.795.8349
  • Cranbrook
  • Golden
  • Kamloops
  • Nelson
  • Revelstoke
  • Rossland
  • Salmon Arm
KAMLOOPS
250.828.4351
  • Kelowna
  • Penticton
  • Vernon
KELOWNA
250.470.6935
  • Campbell River
  • Courtenay
  • Nanaimo
  • Port Alberni
  • Powell River
NANAIMO
250.741.5860
  • New Westminster
NEW WESTMINSTER
604.660.8551
  • Dawson Creek
  • Fort St. John
  • Prince George
  • Quesnel
  • Williams Lake
PRINCE GEORGE
250.614.2750
  • Vancouver
VANCOUVER
604.660.2853
  • Duncan
  • Prince Rupert
  • Smithers
  • Terrace
  • Victoria

VICTORIA
250.356.1450
1.877.288.0889 (toll free)

 

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COVID-19 Notice No. 31
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice supplements the following notice:

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed.

With the release of COVID-19 Notice #28, the Court announced that effective June 1, 2020, chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list could resume by telephone, and effective June 8, 2020, chambers applications estimated for 2 hours or less, other than short leave applications, could resume by telephone.

Hearing of foreclosure matters in chambers has resumed by telephone using the telephone process set out in COVID-19 Notice #28.

Parties submitting sealed bids to the Court for foreclosures and other matters involving the sale of land should follow the process set out in the Schedule and Appendices attached to this notice.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 5, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

SCHEDULE “A”

BID PROCESS

  1. Any person interested in making an offer to compete against an offer before the court and the subject of an application for approval of sale (the “Original Bid”) to purchase any Lands (a “Competing Offeror”) shall do so as follows (the “Bid Process”):
    1. An offer to purchase in the standard real estate contract form, accompanied by a Schedule “A” to be provided by the Seller or its agent, shall be submitted by the Competing Offeror to the Seller’s counsel either by: (a) a sealed envelope; or (b) attachment to an email with the Subject Line marked “SEALED BID: [address]”, in either case addressed to the Seller’s counsel;
    2. An offer to purchase must be accompanied by a Transmission Letter/Acknowledgement of Receipt (“Transmission/Receipt Notice”) in the form attached as Appendix “A” hereto, signed by the Competing Offeror or their authorized representative; and
    3. All offers must be accompanied by: (a) the applicable deposit by way of bank draft or certified cheque; or (b) proof of delivery of a bank draft or certified cheque to the Seller’s realtor or held in trust with the purchaser(s)’ counsel; and, either concurrently with its delivery or, if delivered by email, to be received by the Seller’s counsel on or before 12:00 p.m. the business day preceding the hearing date of the application for sale approval (the “Hearing Date”).

      All bids, in final form, must be received by the Seller’s counsel by no later than noon on that day which is two business days before the Hearing Date (the “Bid Date”).
  2. The Seller’s counsel shall endorse and return to the applicable Competing Offeror any Transmission/Receipt Notices provided by such Competing Offeror prior to the Bid Date.
  3. The Seller’s counsel shall advise the proposed purchaser under the Original Bid (the “Original Offeror”) that bids have been received pursuant to the process set out in paragraph 1 above within a reasonable period of time of a bid being received. The Original Offeror will have until 4:00 p.m. on the Bid Date to provide a revised bid if they wish, accompanied by a Transmission/Receipt Notice.
  4. The Original Offeror and all Competing Offerors (collectively, “Offeror” or “Offerors”) acknowledge that:
    1. If an Offeror has not provided the Transmission/Receipt Notice to the Seller’s counsel and received back a signed copy of the Transmission/Receipt Notice from the Seller’s counsel, then the Seller’s counsel is not under any obligation to consider such Offeror’s bid;
    2. All bids must clearly set out the names of all parties to be on title should the offer be approved by the court, with middle name and how title is to be taken (joint tenancy or tenants in common, with particular ownership interest);
    3. To the extent any bid submitted represents a revised offer from the Original Bid, it shall not be necessary for such revised offer to be accompanied by any further deposit of funds, and it may be provided on the condition that it is only to be relied upon if other offers are received; and
    4. The Seller’s counsel may request that any Offeror provide further information as to the identity of any related parties or operating minds of any corporate entities, so as to satisfy itself as to the Offeror(s)’ bona fides and ability to complete the sale, including paying the purchase funds upon closing. Should any such Offeror(s) not provide information as may reasonably be requested by the time reasonably required in the request, the Seller’s counsel may decline to consider their offer.
  5. After receipt of any bids received in accordance with the procedure outlined above, and after the Bid Date:
    1. The Seller’s counsel will open any offers received in envelopes or electronic form
    2. The Seller’s counsel shall provide any prior financial chargeholder’s counsel with a copy of all offers it has received, either in envelopes or electronically, if the offer to be presented to court is not sufficient to discharge that encumbrance; and
    3. No earlier than 12:00 p.m. (noon) the day before the Hearing Date and no later than 8:00 a.m. on the Hearing Date, the Seller’s counsel will electronically forward to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to the email address for the applicable Registry as set forth in Appendix B hereto, copies of the paper and electronic bids, each saved as its own document together with a request to direct the email to the presider, noting the hearing date; and
    4. The Seller’s counsel is at liberty to discuss the results of the bid process with counsel for any subsequent charge holders and the Seller, in order to obtain instructions as to which offer to support at the court application, provided that such parties agree to keep the results confidential.

      The Seller, Seller’s counsel and any charge holder’s counsel shall undertake to maintain the confidentiality of all bids received, either in envelopes or electronically.
  6. At the hearing, the Seller’s counsel will report to the Court as to the results of the Bid Process and provide the Court with its position as to the best offer for the Court’s further consideration, approval and pronouncement of a vesting order if deemed appropriate.
  7. After the Hearing, the Seller’s counsel shall notify the successful Offeror of the outcome of the hearing and file the approved offer with the court by way of requisition.
  8. All parties, including all Offerors, acknowledge that the Court retains its full discretion with respect to the application for approval of any sale, including with respect to the use of the Bid Process and the consideration of any offers that were not made in compliance with the Bid Process (“Non-Compliant Offers”). In addition to complying with paragraph 6 of this Bid Process, the Seller’s Counsel should advise the Court at the beginning of the application for sale approval whether any Non-Compliant Offers were received and the Court retains full discretion to review and consider any Non-Compliant Offer(s) as it sees fit.

DOWNLOAD APPENDIX "A" TRANSMISSION LETTER

APPENDIX "B"

EMAIL ADDRESSES OF REGISTRIES

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COVID-19 Notice No. 30
Date: June 30, 2020
This notice replaces COVID-19 Notice No. 3

Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code for orders for further detention of things seized raise some distinct procedural issues in the current COVID-19 health emergency, during which the Court is keeping in-person appearances in court to a minimum.

Typically, applications under s. 490 face an inherent deadline because an earlier order of this Court or the Provincial Court is due to expire. Under the current circumstances, the required notice of the application to extend the period of detention may be difficult to give to the party(ies) from whom the things were seized because of illness, quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, or business closures associated with the health emergency. Even where notice is successfully given, the notified party may (for similar reasons) have difficulty consulting counsel or taking the necessary steps to respond.

Now that fix-date appearances have resumed by telephone for all court locations on their regular dates, the following procedures will apply to s. 490 applications in Supreme Court until further notice during the health emergency:

  1. Crown counsel areto contact Supreme Court Scheduling to arrange to set the matter for either a hearing on the merits or for a fix-date appearance, depending on the circumstances.
  2. If the Crown indicates that the person from whom the things were seized has been given notice of the application, the application will be set for a hearing on the merits either in person or by remote means, as appropriate.
  3. If the Crown indicates that the application cannot proceed for lack of notice to the personfrom whom the things were seized due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the matter will be set for a fix-date appearance by telephone before the detention period expires. If, at the fix date appearance, a date is set for the hearing of the application, the Crown will notify the person from whom the things were seized of the date and time of the hearing.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 30 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 29
Date: June 30, 2020

This notice replaces COVID-19 Notice No. 16 – COVID Pre-trial Conferences (CV PTC)

Highlighted change:

  • Counsel are no longer required to complete and submit a CV PTC form

What is a CV PTC and when is one required?

CV PTCs, which were introduced on May 4, 2020, will continue until further notice for all criminal cases where the trial was adjourned or is at risk of being adjourned because of direct or indirect effects of the public health emergency.

CV PTCs have the specific purpose of advancing or resolving adjourned and at-risk cases as much as possible and appropriate. They will be held by telephone, are in addition to regularly scheduled pre-trial conferences, and are not required for cases that have been determined to be subject to Criminal Practice Direction 3: Complex Criminal Cases (CPD-3).The judge conducting the CV PTC may be different than the assigned trial or case management judge.

Counsel are no longer required to complete and submit a form in advance of the CV PTC, but, as for any PTC, should appear at the CV PTC informed and instructed about the case.

Booking a CV PTC

1. Online process

Counsel are encouraged to book a CV PTC online by clicking here or visiting the Scheduling page of the Supreme Court website. Either Crown or defence counsel may book the CV PTC. Before booking online, the requesting party must make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the CV PTC.

The requesting party will receive an acknowledgment email confirming the booking. Upon receipt of the email confirmation of the booking, the requesting party must forward a copy to opposing counsel. The requesting party must also file a Requisition confirming the date, time and court location.

2. Booking at a fix-date appearance 

If counsel do not schedule a CV PTC, one may be set at the next fix date appearance for the matter.

Appearance by Telephone

If the accused is represented by counsel, the accused does not need to attend the CV PTC unless they wish to do so. Counsel and self-represented accused persons who are not in custody must provide Supreme Court Scheduling with the telephone number at which they can be reached for the CV PTC. If a self-represented accused person is in custody, Crown counsel should arrange for the accused to appear by video.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 30 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 28
Date: June 5, 2020

This notice supplements the following notices:

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. See COVID-19 Notice #8.

In COVID-19 Notice #25, the Court announced that effective June 1, 2020, chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list would resume by telephone. Othercivil and family chambers matters were adjourned until further notice. This Notice provides further directions on these matters.

Effective June 8, 2020, Chief Justice Hinkson directs that chambers applications, other than short leave applications, estimated for 2 hours or less may resume by telephone in accordance with the procedures set out in this Notice. For chambers matters that are longer than two hours and not already scheduled for hearing on the trial list, parties may refer to the Court’s website under “Scheduling – Booking Lengthy Chambers”.

The following processes remain in place until further notice:

The Chief Justice has also ordered that until the conclusion of the Court’s suspension of regular operations, certain requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules are modified to facilitate the process in this Notice. See the Court’s order dated June 5, 2020, found here.

While the Court is taking all steps necessary to allow for these chambers applications to proceed, the Court cannot guarantee that all applications will proceed as scheduled. The Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts taken to contain it. The Court will continue to be guided by public health recommendations, and further adjustments to Court processes may be required. The Court appreciates willingness on the part of parties to expect and accommodate changes to scheduled proceedings. As set out in this Notice, chambers applications will be conducted by telephone. Further information and directions will be provided when in-person and video conferencing hearings become available.

I. MAKING A CHAMBERS APPLICATION

Parties can make chambers applications to the Court that are estimated to take two hours or less.

Parties must bring and respond to applications in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules or the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable, subject to the modifications described below.

A. Modifications to Notice of Application and Application Response

The applicant must file a notice of application in Form 32 for a civil matter or in Form F31 for a family matter with the modifications below:

  • In accordance with Appendix A, the applicant must identify one of the following locations as the place of hearing, and indicate that the hearing is by telephone:
    • Chilliwack
    • Kamloops
    • Kelowna
    • Nanaimo
    • New Westminster
    • Prince George
    • Vancouver
    • Vernon
    • Victoria
    • Williams Lake
  • The applicant must include their mailing address, as well as an email address and telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information.

Parties must file and serve the modified notice of application, modified application response, and other application materials (i.e., every affidavit and other document that is to be referred to at the hearing and that has not already been filed and served in the proceeding) in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules or the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable.

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice. Formethods of filing see Part IV of COVID-19 Notice #25. Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

Parties that had an application of less than two hours set for hearing at a location in Appendix A that was adjourned as a result of the Court’s suspension of regular operations may reset the application by filing a requisition in accordance with Rule 8-1(21.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules or Rule 10-6(19.1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Parties must provide a mailing address, as well as an email address and telephone number where the registry may contact them to confirm telephone conferencing information. Those parties are not required to file a new modified notice of application or modified application response, but must follow the procedures set out below.

B. Application Record

The process for providing an application record to the registry is modified as follows:

  • The applicant must provide the application record to the registry where the hearing is to take place no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for the hearing (in other words, the timeframe set in Rule 8-1(15) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been modified).
  • The application record must be provided by placing it in the application record drop box located at the registry where the hearing is to take place.
  • The application record must be prepared in accordance with Rules 8-1(15) and 8-1(16) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14) of the Supreme Court Family Rules, except parties may include copies of case law and other authorities that they will rely on at the hearing (in other words, Rule 8-1(15)(d)(ii) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(14)(d)(ii) of the Supreme Court Family Rules do not apply).
  • The applicant must serve a copy of the application record index on each respondent no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for hearing (in other words, the timeframe set in Rule 8-1(17) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(15) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been modified).
  • The application record must have an external cover page as required by Administrative Notice 14, and must include the contact information (email preferred) for all parties. If the registry is unable to contact the parties to provide telephone conferencing information, the matter may not be put on the court list.
  • Any amended application record must be provided to the registry no later than 4 p.m. on the business day that is two full business days before the date set for the hearing.
  • If parties submit a draft order in the application record, a backing sheet is required and it must include a mailing address.

Application records will not be returned to the parties after the hearing (in other words, Rule 8-1(19) and (20) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 10-6(17) and (18) of the Supreme Court Family Rules do not apply). Application record contents will be securely destroyed following the hearing. If the hearing is adjourned, the registry will hold the application record for 10 business days. If a requisition resetting the adjourned application is not filed within that time period, the contents of the application record will be securely destroyed.

If an application record is not provided to the registry within the time stipulated in this Notice, the application will be struck from the chambers list. Parties are not permitted to file a requisition for late filing of their application record. The applicant may file a requisition to reset their hearing date.

II. THE CHAMBERS HEARING

Parties will check in with the court clerk the morning of the hearing, and remain in the telephone conference until their matter is called and heard. The following processes will apply:

A. Confirming the scheduled hearing date and time

  • At least one day before the hearing date, the registry will send the parties a hearing confirmation email with instructions about how to join the telephone conference and the time that the parties must check in with the court clerk.

B. Attending chambers via phone

  • Parties will be required to check in with the court clerk when they join the telephone conference and should refer to the instructions provided in the hearing confirmation email.
  • The check-in time will begin at 9:00 am, unless the hearing confirmation email provides otherwise.•Parties are expected to stay on the line with a muted connection until their matter is called.
  • The Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms (the “Policy”) applies to applications heard by telephone, and parties must not record telephone proceedings except in accordance with the Policy.

Parties will be held to the time estimate provided. There may be cost consequences for parties who exceed their time estimate or the two hour time limit.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 5, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A

The location of the chambers hearing depends on the location of the registry file.

The below table shows where the chambers hearing will be located based on the location of the registry file. For example, if the registry file is located in Cranbook then the hearing location is Kamloops.

REGISTRY FILE LOCATION HEARING LOCATIONand REGISTRY CONTACT INFORMATION
Chilliwack CHILLIWACK
604.795.8350
Cranbrook
Golden
Kamloops
Nelson
Revelstoke
Rossland
Salmon Arm
KAMLOOPS
250.828.4344
Kelowna
Penticton
KELOWNA
250.470.6900
Campbell River
Courtenay
Nanaimo
Port Alberni
Powell River
NANAIMO
250.741.5860
New Westminster NEW WESTMINSTER
604.660.0686
Dawson Creek
Fort St. John
Prince George
Quesnel
PRINCE GEORGE
250.614.2700
Vancouver VANCOUVER
604.660.2849
Vernon VERNON
250.549.5422
Duncan
Prince Rupert
Smithers
Terrace
Victoria
VICTORIA
250.356.1478
Williams Lake WILLIAMS LAKE
250.398.4301
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COVID-19 Notice No. 27
Date: June 5, 2020

Supreme Court of British Columbia trials will resume on June 8, 2020 in a number of courthouse locations. Changes to court configurations and some in-court processes are required to comply with public health directives and orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Provincial Government has retained the services of a private consultant to assist in identifying the necessary steps to modify courtrooms and courthouses to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. Please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations summarizing the steps taken to ensure everyone’s safety in courthouses and courtrooms, including the steps they are taking regarding the screening process for people entering courthouses, cleaning protocols, and physical distancing protocols inside the courthouse.

Certain general precautions will apply to all in person court hearings, appearances and trials. Judges, masters and registrars have the discretion to direct more detailed precautions depending on the circumstances of a particular court hearing. These measures are subject to change without notice as the Court receives further guidance and direction from public health authorities.

I. Trial Management Conferences, Pre-Trial Conferences and Other Pre-hearing Conferences

Counsel and self-represented parties at a trial management conference (“TMC”), a criminal pre-trial conference (“PTC”) or any other type of pre-hearing conference are expected to confirm that the trial or hearing can proceed in accordance with the precautions and restrictions set out below and to advise the presiding judge or master of any problems these measures may present. Any such problems should be addressed in advance of the trial or hearing. Counsel and self-represented parties will also need to address any additional concerns that may apply in the specific circumstances of their trial or hearing.

For civil or family trials, if counsel or self-represented parties are unprepared, the presiding judge or master may adjourn the trial and award costs against the unprepared party or litigant.

II. Addressing instances of symptomatic participants

Counsel and self represented parties must be in a position to confirm at the TMC, PTC, or other conference, at the opening of trial, and at the start of each day of the trial or at the start of any other in court appearance that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side (including counsel, the party, the accused or witnesses) has any symptoms of illness that maybe related to COVID-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control website advises that the symptoms of COVID-19 can include the following:

  1. fever
  2. chills
  3. cough
  4. shortness of breath
  5. sore throat and painful swallowing
  6. stuffy or runny nose
  7. loss of sense of smell
  8. headache
  9. muscle aches
  10. fatigue
  11. loss of appetite
  12. less commonly, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Following the TMC or PTC, during and after the trial and during and after any other in court appearance, if counsel and self-represented parties become aware that anyone who has been present in court has experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19 or that anyone has come into close contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, they must notify the relevant public health officials and the local courthouse manager and follow any directions provided.

III. Witnesses

Prior to the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference, counsel or parties must determine if any potential witness is reluctant to attend court due to health-related concerns or for other reasons related to the public health emergency. The court is unlikely to require the witness to attend in such circumstances, and the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference will address the question of whether the witness can give evidence by other means, such as by affidavit or testimony by telephone or videoconferencing, etc.

IV. Masks and Protective Face Coverings

Members of the public and media are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks or protective face coverings when attending court hearings. Participants at a court appearance, including counsel, parties and witnesses, are permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the judge, master, or registrar if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the judge, master, or registrar and the court clerk may or may not wear a mask in the courtroom. Any concerns on the part of counsel, parties or witnesses regarding the use of masks in the courtroom should be raised for discussion at the TMC, PTC or other pre-hearing conference or with the presiding judge or master or registrar at the earliest opportunity.

V. Oaths or Affirmations

If a witness wishes to give evidence under oath rather than by affirmation, they must bring a Bible or other religious book or sacred object to court. There will be no Bibles or other religious books available in the courtroom.

VI. In Custody Accused Persons

Crown and defence counsel should be familiar with the current policy of BC Corrections concerning the attendance of detained accused persons in court and be prepared to discuss the considerations raised by the policy at the PTC.

VII. Exhibits, Documents, and Authorities

Counsel and self-represented parties must make every effort to limit documentary evidence and case authorities to those that are truly necessary. The court has always discouraged the practice of filing binders of documents as exhibits that counsel may not refer to or that are not entered into evidence; that practice is particularly discouraged in the current circumstances. For briefs of authorities, counsel should include only those cases to which they need to, and will, refer.

Civil and family hearings and trials

Counsel and self-represented parties should deliver copies of documents that they intend to enter as exhibits or rely on in cross-examination to other counsel/parties in advance, rather than simply passing them out in the courtroom. The same applies to common books of documents, written submissions, and briefs of authorities.

Criminal trials and extradition hearings

Crown counsel should deliver copies of documents that they intend to enter as exhibits to defence counsel in advance of the trial or extradition hearing, rather than simply passing them out in the courtroom. Defence counsel are encouraged to do so as well, if this will not impair the conduct of the defence case.

Movement of documents and exhibits in the courtroom where unavoidable

Where the passing of copies of documents or physical exhibits to others in the courtroom is unavoidable, counsel and self-represented parties must use the hand sanitizer available in the courtroom to sanitize their hands before and after handling the documents. In addition to hand sanitizer, there will be a supply of gloves in the courtroom for anyone who wishes to use them, as well as instructions for the safe use, removal, and disposal of gloves. In order to maintain a safe physical distance between counsel, the court clerk, and the witness, documents and exhibits should be placed on the document table before the court clerk and the judge enter the courtroom. Where this is not possible or appropriate, at the time a document or exhibit is to be handed up, counsel or self-represented parties must place it on the document table and then return to counsel table at which point the court clerk will pick it up and hand it to the judge, master, registrars or witness.

VIII. Cleaning and Sanitation

The courtroom will be cleaned after each matter and at the end of each court day, including the witness box, accused box, counsel tables, court clerk desk, the judicial bench, public seating areas, and all other areas of the courtroom where people sit.

A courtroom attendant will wipe down the witness box, including the microphone, horizontal surfaces of the stand, armrests, and handrails after each witness finishes their testimony and at the end of each court day.

In order to facilitate the cleaning of counsel tables, the court requests that counsel who are appearing over multiple days on a particular matter remove their materials from the courtroom each night. If this is not possible or practical (e.g., because of the volume of materials), counsel should pack up their materials into boxes and store them underneath the counsel table.

For more information and details about cleaning protocols, please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s information about COVID-19 Court Recovery Operations.

IX. Courtroom Layout

The physical layout of the courtroom, including the position of counsel, the court clerk and the witness may be altered to maintain a safe physical distance between all participants. The ability to move within a particular courtroom, such as by approaching a witness, maybe restricted for physical distancing purposes.

Communication between counsel and parties

Counsel must consider how they intend to confer with co-counsel and their clients in the courtroom while maintaining a safe physical distance.

Civil and family trials

Counsel should give notice at the TMC of an intention to seek leave of the trial judge to communicate with co-counsel or their client by text message or another method that would not normally be acceptable in court.

Criminal trials and extradition hearings

At the commencement of the trial or extradition hearing, defence counsel should be prepared to discuss with the trial judge the means by which they and their accused clients will communicate and confer with each other inside and outside the courtroom. There may be additional considerations where the accused is in custody.

Water

There will be no water jugs available in the courtroom during the court hearing. Counsel, parties and witnesses are permitted in bring their own water in clear plastic bottles that are no larger than 1 litre in volume. Sheriffs will provide water for an in-custody accused person.

Public and media

In order to maintain a safe physical distance in the public gallery between members of the media and public, the number of seats available will be reduced. If counsel or a party is aware of anyone who intends to observe all or part of the court hearing, they should advise those individuals that while the court remains open to the public, seating is limited, and entry into the courtroom will not be permitted once the room capacity is reached.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 5 June 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 26
Date: revised June 3, 2020

Highlighted changes:

  • Clarifications regarding jury selection and jury trials

This notice replaces the following notice:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 23 – Civil and Family Matters – Resumption of Trial Management Conferences and Trials, dated May 21, 2020

Introduction

On March 19, 2020, the Supreme Court of British Columbia suspended regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19. All civil and family matters scheduled for trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. See the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8.

The COVID-19 Notice #8 also states that the suspension of regular operations and adjournment of trials scheduled on or before May 29, 2020 necessarily suspended theusual timeframes under the Rules for holding trial management conferences (“TMCs”), filing trial briefs, and filing trial certificates, as these timeframes all count back from the scheduled trial date. In addition, COVID-19 Notice #8 states that trials scheduled after May 29, 2020 will also be affected and that further directions will be provided. This Notice provides further directions on these matters.

The Court is now preparing to resume some regular operations as set out in its COVID-19 Notice #25. During this transition, to allow the Court and parties time to prepare for the resumption of operations, the Court is extending the adjournment only for civil and family trials scheduled to begin between June 1 and June 5, 2020. While the Court is taking all steps necessary to prepare to hear trials scheduled on or after June 8, 2020, the Court cannot guarantee that matters will proceed as scheduled. The Court’s abilityto hear trials scheduled on or after June 8, 2020 will continue to be subject to developments that may occur during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, civil jury selections are suspended and civil jury trials are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province pursuant to COVID-19 Notice #25. Until court registries reopen for in-person services, parties will not be able to submit jury fees. Applications to abridge timelines to pay jury fees will be considered once registries reopen for in-person services. Since resumption of jury selections must precede resumption of jury trials, jury trials may be further delayed.

For civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if all parties consent to proceeding by judge alone, they make seek such an order at a TMC or a Judicial Management Conference (“JMC”). A party wishing to strike a jury notice may bring an application through the Application by Written Submissions process set out in COVID-19 Notice #14. A party wishing to oppose the application to strike can respond through the Application by Written Submissions process and request adjournment of the trial. As set out in COVID-19 Notice #14, parties may consent to abridge timelines.

To schedule a TMC, the party must follow the steps set out in Part IV of this Notice and to schedule a JMC, the party must follow the steps set out in Part V of this Notice.

Effective May 13, 2020, Chief Justice Hinkson directs that:

  • TMCs that are already scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020, may proceed by telephone in accordance with the process set out in Part II of this Notice.
  • TMCs that were scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and were adjourned, for family trials that are scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, may be rebooked in accordance with the process set out in Part III of this Notice.
  • TMCs that were scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and were adjourned, for civil trials that are scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, may be rebooked in accordance with the process set out in Part IV of this Notice.
  • Civil and family trials that were scheduled and were adjourned due to the suspension of the court’s regular operations may be dealt with in accordance with the process set out in Part V of this Notice.

The Chief Justice also ordered that until the conclusion of the Court’s suspension of regular operations, certain requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules regarding the timing of certain TMCs and the timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs (civil matters), trial records, and trial certificates have been amended for TMCs and trials scheduled to begin on or before July 24, 2020. In addition, requirements in the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Supreme Court Family Rules, which require either attendance in person or an application to exempt a person from attending in person, do not apply to TMCs held during the Court’s suspension of regular operations. See the Court’s order dated May 13, 2020, found here.

I. THE PURPOSE OF A TMC

Given the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, the Court recognizes that it is important in these times to hold TMCs to assess whether parties are ready or able to proceed to trial and how the trial may be conducted efficiently within the requirements of public health orders and guidelines. Properly completed trial briefs will assist the Court in making orders setting out a plan for how the trial should be conducted.

It is important to note, however, that holding a TMC does not guarantee that a civil or family trial will proceed on the scheduled date.

II. WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT ARE SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACEON OR AFTER JUNE 1, 2020

If a TMC is already scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020, for a civil or a family matter, that TMC will take place on the scheduled date and will be heard by telephone.

Parties must file and serve their trial brief, trial record and trial certificate pursuant to Part III of this Notice for a family matter and Part IV of this Notice for a civil matter.

III. FAMILY MATTERS: WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT WERE ADJOURNED

If a TMC was scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and was adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and a trial is scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, then that TMC may be rebooked to be heard by telephone by following the steps in Part A below. Trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates must be filed and served in accordance with Part B below.

A. Rebooking a TMC:

To rebook a TMC a party (“Rebooking Party”) must:

  • Make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the TMC, and then rebook the TMC online. The date of the TMC must be scheduled according to the following:
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and June 26, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 29 and July 17, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 14 days before the scheduled trial date. (In 4 other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between July 20 and July 24, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 21 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframe for scheduling the TMC is not shortened, and the TMC must take place at least 28 days before the scheduled trial date in accordance with Rule 14-3(1) of the Supreme Court Family Rules.
  • Once a TMC has been rebooked, the Rebooking Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form F17 with the following information:
    • the date and time of the TMC;
    • the venue at which the TMC was rebooked but also state that the TMC will be heard by telephone; and
    • the phone numbers of all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the TMC.

B. Filing Trial Briefs, Trial Records and Trial Certificates:

The timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates for family law cases are set out below. Parties are encouraged to e-file their documents through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

Trial Brief:

All parties must file and serve their trial briefs in Form F45 at least 7 days before the date set for the TMC pursuant to Rule 14-3(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules. This applies to trial briefs for all TMCs scheduled to take place on or after June 1, 2020.

Trial Record:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record at least 1 day before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 14-4(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record in accordance with Rule 14-4(3) of the Supreme Court Family Rules: file the trial record at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial record on all parties.

Trial briefs must be included in the trial record in accordance with Administrative Notice #13.

Trial Certificate:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, each party must file atrial certificate in Form F46 at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 14-5(2) of the Supreme Court Family Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and each party must file the trial certificate in Form F46 pursuant to Rule 14-5(2) of the Supreme Court Family Rules: file the trial certificate at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties.

If the trial certificate must be filed and served before or on the date of the TMC, the parties may complete paragraph 4 of the trial certificate, which currently requires parties to certify that a trial management conference has been conducted in this family law case, as follows:

“4. A trial management conference has been conducted in this family law case: N/A Due to COVID-19 a trial management conference has not been conducted in this family law case but is scheduled to take place on [insert date].”

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial certificate has been filed within the timeframe set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 14-5 of the Supreme Court Family Rules, as applicable.

IV. CIVIL MATTERS: WHAT HAPPENS TO TMCS THAT WERE ADJOURNED

If a TMC was scheduled to take place between March 19 and May 29, 2020 and was adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and a trial is scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020, then that TMC may be rescheduled to be heard by telephone following the steps in Part A below. Trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates must be filed and served in accordance with Part B below.

A. Rebooking a TMC:

To rebook the TMC a party (“Rebooking Party”) must:

  • Make efforts to contact the opposing party to determine a mutually agreeable date for the TMC, and then rebook the TMC online. The date of the TMC must be scheduled according to the following:
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and June 26, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between June 29 and July 17, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 14 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin between July 20 and July 24, 2020, the TMC must take place at least 21 days before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframe in Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)
    • If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframe for scheduling the TMC is not shortened, and the TMC must take place at least 28 days and not more than 120 days before the scheduled trial date pursuant to Rule 12-2(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.
  • Once a TMC has been rebooked, the Rebooking Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form 17 with the following information:
    • the date and time of the TMC;
    • the venue at which the TMC was rebooked but also state that the TMC will be heard by telephone; and
    • the phone numbers of all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the TMC.

The parties of record may, no later than 14 days before the date set for the TMC, apply under Rule 8-3(1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and in accordance with Practice Direction 51 for an order by consent dispensing with the need for a TMC. If a party intends to bring an application to dispense with the need for a TMC, they must still rebook a TMC as set out above. Trial briefs filed as part of such an application must include a sufficient amount of detail to give the Court confidence that all issues have been addressed. (In other words, parties should follow the process set out in Rule 12-2(3.4) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.) If this application would need to be filed by Monday May 18, 2020, the party may file and serve it by Tuesday May 19, 2020 to accommodate the fact that May 18, 2020 is a statutory holiday. All other timeframes will continue to apply as set out in this Notice or pursuant to the Supreme Court Civil Rules.

B. Filing Trial Briefs, Trial Records and Trial Certificates:

The timeframes for filing and serving trial briefs, trial records, and trial certificates for civil law cases are set out below. Parties are encouraged to e-file their documents through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

Trial Brief:

If the TMC is scheduled to take place between June 1 and July 24, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial brief as set out in Rules 12-2(3) and 12-2(3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules have been shortened as follows:

  • The plaintiff must, at least 14 days before the date for the TMC: (a) file a trial brief in Form 41, and (b) serve a copy of the filed trial brief on all other parties of record. If a party is required to file and serve a trial brief by Monday May 18, 2020, the party may file and serve by Tuesday May 19, 2020 to accommodate the fact that May 18, 2020 is a statutory holiday.
  • Each party of record, other than the plaintiff must, at least 7 days before the date for the TMC: (a) file a trial brief in Form 41, and (b) serve a copy of the filed trial brief on all other parties of record.

If the TMC is scheduled to take place on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial brief in Form 41 have not been shortened and all parties must file and serve their trial brief pursuant to Rule 12-2(3) and (3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules.

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial brief has been filed within the timeframes set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 12-2(3) and (3.1) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as applicable.

Trial Record:

If a trial is scheduled to begin between June 8 and July 24, 2020, the party who filed the notice of trial must file and serve the trial record at least 1 day before the scheduled trial date. (In other words, the timeframes set out in Rule 12-3(3) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules have been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial record have not been shortened and the party who filed the notice of 8 trial must file and serve the trial record pursuant to Rule 12-3(3) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules: file the trial record at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial record on the other parties of record.

Trial briefs must be included in the trial record in accordance with Administrative Notice #13.

Trial Certificate:

If the trial is scheduled to take place between June 8 and July 24, 2020, each party must file a trial certificate in Form 42 at least 7 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties of record. (In other words, the timeframe set out in Rule 12-4(2) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules has been shortened.)

If the trial is scheduled to begin on or after July 27, 2020, the timeframes for filing and serving the trial certificate have not been shortened and each party must file the trial certificate pursuant to Rule 12-4(2) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules: file the trial certificate at least 14 days before but not more than 28 days before the scheduled trial date, and promptly after filing, serve a copy of the filed trial certificate on all parties of record.

If the trial certificate must be filed and served before or on the date of the TMC, the parties may complete paragraph 4 of the trial certificate, which currently requires parties to certify that a trial management conference has been conducted in this action, as follows:

“4. A trial management conference has been conducted in this action: N/A Due to COVID-19 a trial management conference has not been conducted in this action but is scheduled to take place on [insert date].”

Unless the court otherwise orders, a trial must be removed from the trial list if no trial certificate has been filed within the timeframe set out in this Notice or pursuant to Rule 12-4 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as applicable.

V. WHAT HAPPENS TO TRIALS THAT WERE SCHEDULED TO OCCUR AND WERE ADJOURNED

This part of the Notice applies to civil and family trials that were scheduled and were adjourned by virtue of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8 and Notice #25, and that have not already been rebooked.

In order to reschedule adjourned trial dates, parties must do 1 of the following: rebook trial dates following the steps in Part A below OR schedule a JMC to be heard by telephone following the steps in Part B below.

A. Rebooking Trial Dates

Parties should contact Supreme Court Scheduling by phone at the registry where thetrial was to be held to rebook the trial based on availability as follows:

  • Before rebooking trial dates, the party seeking to rebook (“Rebooking Party”) must make efforts to contact all other parties to determine mutually agreeable dates for the trial.
  • When the Rebooking Party calls to schedule the trial, they must advise Supreme Court Scheduling of their file number, the registry location and whether a judge is seized of or assigned to the matter.
  • Once trial dates have been scheduled, the Rebooking Party must file and serve promptly on all other parties a notice of trial pursuant to Rule 12-1 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and Rule 14-2 of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Registry contact information can be found online here.

Parties are encouraged to e-file their notice of trial through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

B. Scheduling a JMC

Effective Tuesday May 19, 2020, parties may schedule a JMC online to be heard by telephone as follows:

  • Before scheduling a JMC, the party seeking a JMC (“Scheduling Party”) must make efforts to contact all other parties to determine a mutually agreeable date for the JMC.
  • Once a JMC has been scheduled, the Scheduling Party must file and promptly serve on all other parties a requisition in Form 17 for civil law matters and Form F17 for family law matters at least 7 days before the JMC. The requisition:
    • must note the fact that a JMC has been scheduled, the date and time of the JMC, the venue at which the JMC was booked but also state that the JMC will be heard by telephone, and the phone numbers for all parties by which they may be contacted for the hearing of the JMC; and
    • may list the documents to support the requisition, such as previously filed trial briefs, trial records and trial certificates, if applicable.

One of the purposes of a JMC is to foster a candid discussion about the management of the case during COVID-19 and options on how to move the matter forward. Examples of what may be discussed include: rebooking trial dates, issues of urgency, narrowing of issues, and alternative dispute resolution options. As stated in the Introduction of this Notice, for civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, parties consenting to proceed by judge alone may use the JMC to seek an order setting aside the jury notice. Parties wishing to apply to strike a jury notice should follow the Application for Written Submissions process as described in the Introduction.

Registry contact information can be found online here.

Parties are encouraged to e-file their requisition through Court Services Online. See COVID-19 Notices #8 and #12 for more information on e-filing and other methods of filing.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 3, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

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COVID-19 Notice No. 25
Date: revised June 3, 2020

Highlighted changes:

  • Clarifications regarding jury selection and jury trials

This notice replaces the following notice:

  • COVID-19 Notice No. 22 – Resumption of Some Court Operations, dated May 21, 2020

This notice supplements the following notice:

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

All civil and family matters scheduled for hearing between March 19 and May 29, 2020 were adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directed. This automatic adjournment extended to all trials, conferences, and chambers applications or other hearings currently scheduled for hearing on or before May 29, 2020.

The Court is resuming some operations. This notice sets out what matters will be phased in over the coming weeks. It also provides direction regarding timelines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules that had been suspended. Further directions about court operations will be forthcoming, and members of the profession, the public and the media are advised to continue to monitor the Court’s website for updates.

While the Court is taking all steps necessary to resume some court operations, the Court cannot guarantee that matters will proceed as scheduled. The Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts taken to contain it. Due to the fluidity of the situation, the Court will continue to be guided by public health recommendations, and further adjustments to Court processes may be required. In these challenging times, the Court appreciates willingness on the part of parties to expect and accommodate changes with respect to scheduled proceedings.

As set out in this Notice, hearings and conferences will be conducted by telephone. Notice will be provided if and when in-person and video conferencing hearings become available.

I. MATTERS BEING HEARD DURING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS

The Court continues to hear or consider the following civil and family matters:

These processes will remain in place until further notice, during the resumption of some operations.

II. SCHEDULE FOR RESUMPTION OF CIVIL AND FAMILY MATTERS

Trials

All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or before June 5, 2020 are adjourned, unless the Court otherwise directs.

All civil and family trials scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020 will resume, unless the Court otherwise directs. The resumption of civil and family trials may be subject to change as a result of limitations on available facilities or public health recommendations. See COVID-19 Notice #20 for more information regarding the resumption of trials.

Jury Selections and Jury Trials

All civil jury selections are suspended and jury trials are cancelled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province. Until court registries reopen for in-person services, parties will not be able to submit jury fees. Applications to abridge timelines to pay jury fees will be considered once registries reopen for in-person services.

Since resumption of jury selections must precede resumption of jury trials, jury trials may be further delayed. For civil matters where a jury notice has been filed and served, if all parties consent to proceeding by judge alone, they make seek such an order at a TMC or a JMC. A party wishing to strike a jury notice may bring an application through the Application by Written Submissions process set out in COVID-19 Notice #14. A party wishing to oppose an application to strike can respond through the Application by Written Submissions process and request adjournment of the trial. For more information, see COVID-19 Notice #26.

Chambers Hearings and Conferences

As of June 1, 2020, the following matters will resume by telephone:

  • Judicial Case Conferences for family matters;
  • Chambers matters already scheduled for hearing on the trial list; and
  • TMCs, as set out in COVID-19 Notice #20

Judicial Case Conferences that are already scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020 will resume by telephone. Parties may also schedule a Judicial Case Conference, which will occur by telephone, on or after June 1, 2020 by contacting Supreme Court Scheduling by phone at the registry where the file is located and filing and serving all required materials pursuant to Rule 7-1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules. Registry contact information can be found online here.

Apart from chambers matters that are already scheduled for hearing on the trial list, which will be heard by telephone, civil and family chambers are adjourned until further notice. Parties may still file applications as appropriate under the various processes referred to in Part I of this Notice.

The balance of the scheduled matters before the Court remain adjourned until further notice. As the Court continues with its plan for resumption of court operations, further information will be provided as it becomes available.

III. LIMITATION PERIODS AND FILING DEADLINES

Running of Filing Timelines under the Supreme Court Rules Will Resume

Filing and service timelines under the Supreme Court Civil Rules and the Supreme Court Family Rules, which were suspended on March 18, 2020, will recommence on May 29, 2020. Filing and service timelines will begin to run again starting May 29, 2020. With the exception of any document associated with a Request for Urgent Hearing, Telephone Conference Hearing, or Application by Written Submissions, documents filed between March 19 and May 28, 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on May 29, 2020. Parties are encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online. Alternate methods for filing as set out in COVID-19 Notice #8 also remain in place. A party unable to meet a filing deadline for reasons related to COVID-19 may apply through a Telephone Conference Hearing or an Application by Written Submission for an order amending the timeline for filing.

The suspension of regular operations and adjournment of trials scheduled on or before May 29, 2020 necessarily suspended the usual timelines under the Supreme Court Civil and Family Rules for holding TMCs, for filing Trial Briefs, and for filing Trial Certificates, as these timelines all count back from the scheduled trial date. Trials scheduled for hearing following May 29, 2020 are also affected. See COVID-19 Notice #20 regarding the resumption of TMCs.

Effective April 15, 2020, Ministerial Order No. M098 suspended limitation periods and mandatory time periods for the commencement of a civil or family proceeding from March 18, 2020 to the date on which the last extension of the declaration of the state of emergency made under section 9 (1) of the Emergency Program Act expires or is cancelled, except for those limitations and time periods established under the Builders Lien Act and Division 5 of Part 5 of the Strata Property Act. Once this suspension is lifted, more directions will be provided by the Court.

IV. REGISTRY SERVICES REMAIN SUSPENDED

Courthouse registries are not providing in-person services until further notice.

However, all courthouses continue to accept documents for civil and family matters.

Parties are strongly encouraged to e-file through Court Services Online.

Those unable to e-file may file documents by way of:

  • Fax Filing at a registry designated as a fax filing registry by Supreme Court Civil Rule 23-2 or Supreme Court Family Rule 22-3. See Appendix A for a list of fax filing registries and the fax numbers;
  • Mailing to any Supreme Court registry. Contact information for all Supreme Court registries is available here; and
  • Using the Secure Drop Box available at Supreme Court registries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The drop box will be accessible to the public from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and will be emptied at the end of the day and processed every 24 hours. The drop box will be monitored to ensure its contents are secure during the day. Parties who submit materials for filing using the drop box must provide with the materials a telephone number or email address where they can be reached. Registry staff will contact parties only if their materials are not accepted for filing.

V. HEARINGS WILL BE SCHEDULED AT SEVEN CENTRALIZED REGISTRIES

Effective March 30, 2020, and until further notice, hearings of the Supreme Court of British Columbia will only be scheduled at the following seven central locations, unless otherwise ordered by the Court:

  • Vancouver Law Courts
  • New Westminster
  • Victoria
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Prince George
  • Nanaimo

Hearings will occur by telephone or video conferencing where appropriate and available, unless otherwise directed by the Court. Other registries will continue to receive documents in the manner set out in this notice.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated June 3, 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A – Fax Filing Registries

Chilliwack (604) 795-8397

Cranbrook (250) 426-1498

Dawson Creek (250) 784-2218

Kamloops (250) 828-4345

Kelowna (250) 979-6768

Nelson (250) 354-6133

Penticton (250) 492-1290

Prince George (250) 614-7923

Rossland (250) 362-7321

Salmon Arm (250) 833-7401

Smithers (250) 847-7344

Terrace (250) 638-2143

Vernon (250) 549-5461

Williams Lake (250) 398-4264

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COVID-19 Notice No. 24
Date: May 26, 2020

As of May 26, 2020 and until further notice, parties not appearing in person before the Court as a result of measures put in place during the public health emergency are required to file their affidavits of service or delivery.

Affidavits of service or delivery may be e-filed through Court Services Online. If the hearing date is imminent, the party e-filing through Court Services Online should request filing on an urgent basis. This option is available at “Step 1B: Rush Details” of the online process, as illustrated in Appendix A to this Notice. The party should choose “Other” and include the hearing date and time and method of appearance in the comment field (e.g., “Needed for hearing set for May 29, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. by phone”).

A party unable to use e-filing may file an affidavit of service or delivery by fax, mail, or drop box, as set out in Part VII of the Court’s COVID-19 Notice #8. Parties using these filing methods should include a note requesting filing on an urgent basis and indicate the hearing date and time and the method of appearance. Registry staff will make every effort to scan affidavits of service or delivery before hearings, but cannot guarantee this will occur in all cases because of reduced staff capacity during the public health emergency. The drop box contents are quarantined for 24 hours, and therefore parties using the drop box must file affidavits of service or delivery a minimum of four days in advance of when they are needed to allow time for processing.

During the public health emergency, the Court has set out a process for commissioning affidavits in urgent cases where it is impossible or unsafe, for medical reasons, for the deponent of an affidavit to physically attend before a commissioner. For more information, please see COVID-19 Notice No. 2.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated May 26, 2020 at Vancouver, British Columbia
By Direction of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Appendix A - CSO Rush Filing

 

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COVID-19 Notice No. 21
Date: May 14, 2020

This notice supplements COVID-19 Notice No. 18 – Notice of Suspension of Regular Court Operations –Criminal Proceedings

Effective March 19, 2020 and until further notice, the Honourable Chief Justice Hinkson suspended regular operations of the Supreme Court of British Columbia at all of its locations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Court is now working toward the resumption of regular court operations. This notice gives directions about criminal proceedings scheduled for June 1, 2020 and following. Further directions about court operations will beforthcoming, and members of the profession, the public and the media shouldcontinue to monitor the Court’s website regularly for updates.

I. MATTERS BEING HEARD DURING SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS

The Court continues to hear the following:

  • Criminal matters asset outin Parts I and II of COVID-19 Notice No.18 (urgent and essential criminal matters, fix-date appearances, pre-trial conferences, and summary conviction and traffic ticket appeals);
  • COVID-19 Pre-Trial Conferences, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No.16; and
  • Applications under s. 490 of the Criminal Code, as set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 3.

The processes described in the notices listed abovewill remain in place until further notice. The Court also continues to hear other matters in specific criminal cases, as directed by judges of the Court.

I. SCHEDULED CRIMINAL MATTERS IN JUNE 2020

Matters scheduled for June 1-5

Unless the Court (including the assigned or seized judge)otherwise directs, all criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings, scheduled to be heard between June 1 and June 5, 2020, are adjournedto the fix-date list of the court location where the matter was scheduled to be heard, on the dates set out in Appendix A to this Notice. The fix-date appearances will be by telephone, with self-represented accused persons in custody appearing by video.

To preserve jurisdiction, a bench warrant will be issued for all accused persons whose scheduled appearances between June 1 and 5, 2020are adjourned. The bench warrant will be held and not executed until the date of the fix-date appearance. If the accused person appears personally or through counsel on that date, the bench warrant will be vacated.

If Crown or defence counsel or an accused not represented by counsel wish, they may book a COVID-19 Pre-trial Conference, to take place before May 27, by following the process set out in COVID-19 Notice No. 16, to determine whether the trial or a portion thereof may proceed as scheduled between June 1-5.They may alternatively arrange a pre-trial conference before the assigned or seized judge to canvass whether the matter will proceed.

Matters scheduled for June 8 and following

At this point, the Court expects to proceed with criminal trials, voir dires and pre-trial applications, and extradition hearings scheduled to begin on or after June 8, 2020. However, the situation will continue to be assessed, taking into account the many factors affecting the Court’s capacity to hear these types of matters during the pandemic.

All jury selections are canceled up to and including September 7, 2020 everywhere in the province.

The Court continues to work with the Court Services Branchof the Ministry of Attorney General, which is making changes and improvements to courthouse and courtroom facilities and to in-court technology to accommodate court appearances consistent with public health and safety recommendations, the rights and interests of those involved, and the open court principle. The Court’s approximately 100 courtrooms are being assessed and modified for physical distancing, and some structural modifications may be necessary. Telephone and videoconferencing is operating at or near maximum current capacity. The Court also recognizes that the direct and indirect consequences of the public health emergency for individual staff and court participantswill also affect whether some cases can proceed as scheduled.

The Court will continue to explore every option to increase and fully resume its operations, and appreciates the patience and flexibility of court users during this challenging time.

THE FOREGOING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. ANY UPDATED DIRECTIONS WILL BE POSTED ON THE COURT’S WEBSITE.

Dated 14 May 2020, at Vancouver, British Columbia

By Direction of Associate Chief Justice Heather J. Holmes
Supreme Court of British Columbia

Provincial Court of BC
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Date Issued: 02 July, 2020
Effective Date: 02 July 2020
FAM 08

PRACTICE DIRECTION

EARLY RESOLUTION PROCESS AND EXPEDITED COURT PROCESS TO CHANGE OR
SUSPEND CHILD OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT DUE TO COVID-19

Purpose & Application

The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out the early resolution process and expedited court process that is available (but not required) for a party who is only seeking a suspension or change to an existing agreement or Provincial Court order about child support or spousal support as a result of a change in income since January 2020 that is related to COVID-19.

For all other relief (including relief for outstanding arrears prior to January 2020) or counterclaims not related to the above, parties may make an application in the normal course on July 8, 2020 when Provincial Court registries are able to accept new family filings.

This practice direction applies to all court registries in the Province. Variations in process at the Victoria registry, due to the Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model, are noted under section 4 below.

Direction

  1. Effective July 2, 2020 until further direction, the early resolution and expedited court process set out here may be used by parties seeking a suspension or change to an existing agreement or Provincial Court order about child support or spousal support as a result of a change in income since January 2020 related to COVID-19.
  2. Early Resolution Process
    1. How to begin (Intake)
      1. Contact the Family Justice Services Division (Family Justice Services) to schedule your individual needs assessment interview at:
      1. Complete an individual needs assessment with Family Justice Services by telephone or videoconference to identify: the issue(s) that need to be resolved; and determine whether the dispute resolution process is appropriate.
        1. Parties may also receive referrals to legal advice and other community supports.
        2. .A party may be contacted by Family Justice Services if someone else completed the form and named them in the form.
      2. Complete the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change” form and provide a copy to Family Justice Services and all other parties as noted on the form.
    2. Participation In Dispute Resolution Process
      1. If it is determined that participation in the Dispute Resolution Process is appropriate during the intake process, the parties may participate in a process which may include: mediation with a family justice counsellor, family law mediator, a collaborative family law process, or facilitated negotiation with a child support officer.
      2. Each party must provide financial information as required by Family Justice Services or the dispute resolution professional.
      3. If the parties reach an agreement,Family Justice Services or the dispute resolution professional involved may assist the parties to draft a variation of an existing written agreement which can be filed with the court for enforcement purposes; or assist the parties to apply to the court for a consent variation of an existing court order.
      4. If the parties do not reach an agreement but at least one party has completed a needs assessment interview, the matter may proceed to the expedited court process set out below.
      5. Family Justice Services will complete the bottom of the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change” form to indicate that one or all of the parties have completed an individual needs assessment interview.
  3. Expediated Court Process
    1. The party must submit the following forms required for court to the Pre-court Case Management Service (PCCM) which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca:
    2. PCCM will review to ensure documents are complete. Once completed, PCCM will file the documents with the court for the party by emailing the documents to the applicable registry.
    3. The party must serve a copy of each of the documents on all other parties to the order or agreement.
    4. The party filing a reply must submit their documents to PCCM, which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca. PCCM will review to ensure documents are complete. Once completed, PCCM will file the documents with the court for the party by emailing the documents to the applicable registry.
      1. See the Provincial Court (Family) Rules regarding documents that need to be filed, which may include a Financial Statement.
    5. A hearing will be scheduled after a reply has been filed, or the reply period has passed and proof of service has been filed.
    6. Each party may be required to provide additional financial information as required by the court.
    7. In some situations, such as where there is corporate income, previously imputed income, or lack of adequate financial information, an Amicus (legal counsel who is not counsel for a party but who assists the court) may review the filed material and speak to it in court. Parties will be advised whether they can expect Amicus to assist the court with their matter prior to the hearing.
    8. These matters will be heard by telephone or videoconference unless a judge orders otherwise.

      Note: When applying to court to vary a child support order, the requirement to complete the Parenting After Separation Program and to file a certificate of completion with the court registry still applies for the following court locations: Abbotsford, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Prince George, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver (Robson Square) and Vernon. If you have already completed the program in the 24 months prior to filing the application, you may be exempt from this requirement. (See Provincial Court (Family) Rules, Rule 21).
  4. Victoria Registry (only)
    Variations in process at the Victoria registry, due to the Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Model, are noted here.
    1. Early Resolution Process
      1. Complete and file the “Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter” form to enter into the process (not the “Notice of Intention to Change Existing Child or Spousal Support Due to COVID-19 Income Change”form).
      2. FMEP clients must provide a copy of the “Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter” form to their enforcement officer.
      3. Each party must meet the early resolution requirements as set out in the Provincial Court (Family) Rules Appendix B, Part 2.
    2. Expedited Court Process
      1. If, after having met the early resolution requirements, a court proceeding is required to change the support order or agreement,the party must submit the following documents to PCCM,which can be reached by telephone (604-660-2528 or Toll free 1-866-660-2684) or by email at pccm@gov.bc.ca,and serve a copy on each other party of the following documents found under “Early Resolution and Case Management Registry Forms (only in the Victoria court registry)”:
      2. FMEP clients must also provide a copy of the documents to their enforcement officer as required by the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act.

History of Practice Direction

  • Original practice direction effective July 02, 2020.

I make this practice direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379 and Rule 8(11) of the Provincial Court (Child, Family and Community Services Act) Rules, B.C. Reg. 533/95.

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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Effective Date: 02 July 2020 (unless otherwise stated in this Notice)
NP 19 (New additions in red)

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC

COVID-19: RESUMPTION OF FURTHER COURT OPERATIONS

The Provincial Court of British Columbia recognizes that the Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Public Health Officers of Canada and the Province still require people to keep a safe distance from each other, but currently there can be a cautious reopening of public places with health and safety protocols in place to minimize the transmission of the virus. Taking this into account, the Provincial Court has developed the plan set out in this Notice to resume further court operations.

As of June 8, 2020, the Provincial Court has resumed in-person proceedings in two courtrooms in each of the following six locations: Surrey, 222 Main Street (Vancouver), Robson Square (Vancouver), Victoria, Prince George, and Kelowna. As of June 15, 2020, the Provincial Court opened one courtroom for in-person appearances in each of the 28 locations listed in Appendix “D”. For most cases, the processes set out in this Notice, including remote proceedings, will continue.

Criminal, family, small claims, and youth court trials and hearings scheduled after July 3, 2020 will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court on the date scheduled at 9:00AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. The Court will determine which trials will proceed. Witnesses and parties represented by counsel are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30 minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court. Criminal trials, preliminary inquiries and continuations of trials and preliminary inquiries (excluding summary proceedings court files) that are not able to proceed due to lack of court time or are otherwise adjourned will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference before a new hearing date is scheduled. Family and small claims case conferences will proceed by audio or videoconference on their scheduled dates.

The Provincial Court initially instituted the Hub Court model to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Hub Courts acted as Regional locations for the Court to conduct remote proceedings, as there have been few in person proceedings conducted. As the Court opens more courtrooms, particularly in larger court locations, to accommodate in person proceedings where it is safe to do so, the Court will no longer be relying on the Hub Court model. However, bail hearings, urgent family applications, pre-trial conferences, and other case conferences may be heard remotely by a judge in a location outside the court location where the matter originates in order to enhance efficiency.

The directions in this Notice are subject to change as circumstances of the pandemic change.

Download this Notice to the Profession and Public.

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Effective Date: 02 July 2020 (unless otherwise stated in this Notice)
NP 19 (New additions in red)

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC

COVID-19: RESUMPTION OF FURTHER COURT OPERATIONS

The Provincial Court of British Columbia recognizes that the Province is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Public Health Officers of Canada and the Province still require people to keep a safe distance from each other, but currently there can be a cautious reopening of public places with health and safety protocols in place to minimize the transmission of the virus. Taking this into account, the Provincial Court has developed the plan set out in this Notice to resume further court operations.

As of June 8, 2020, the Provincial Court has resumed in-person proceedings in two courtrooms in each of the following six locations: Surrey, 222 Main Street (Vancouver), Robson Square (Vancouver), Victoria, Prince George, and Kelowna. As of June 15, 2020, the Provincial Court opened one courtroom for in-person appearances in each of the 28 locations listed in Appendix “D”. For most cases, the processes set out in this Notice, including remote proceedings, will continue.

Criminal, family, small claims, and youth court trials and hearings scheduled after July 3, 2020 will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court on the date scheduled at 9:00AM to advise if they are ready to proceed that day. The Court will determine which trials will proceed. Witnesses and parties represented by counsel are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30 minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court. Criminal trials, preliminary inquiries and continuations of trials and preliminary inquiries (excluding summary proceedings court files) that are not able to proceed due to lack of court time or are otherwise adjourned will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference before a new hearing date is scheduled. Family and small claims case conferences will proceed by audio or videoconference on their scheduled dates.

The Provincial Court initially instituted the Hub Court model to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Hub Courts acted as Regional locations for the Court to conduct remote proceedings, as there have been few in person proceedings conducted. As the Court opens more courtrooms, particularly in larger court locations, to accommodate in person proceedings where it is safe to do so, the Court will no longer be relying on the Hub Court model. However, bail hearings, urgent family applications, pre-trial conferences, and other case conferences may be heard remotely by a judge in a location outside the court location where the matter originates in order to enhance efficiency.

The directions in this Notice are subject to change as circumstances of the pandemic change.

Download this Notice to the Profession and Public.

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In Part V of the Provincial Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public 19: Resumption of Further Court Operations,all traffic matters with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter were adjourned for rescheduling.

The Court is now ready to resume scheduling traffic hearings in some locations. A large number of people attend these hearings. In order to keep the public, court users, court staff,and judicial officers safe and physically distant while providing access to justice, the Court has worked together with Court Services Branch (including the Sheriff Service) and Corporate Management Services Branch to identify alternate hearing locations and/or alternate hearing times to accommodate people attending these hearings as follows:

Provincial Court Location Where Matter Originally Scheduled Hearing Location Date
Hearings Commence
Hearing Dates Hearing Times
Abbotsford Chilliwack University of the
Fraser Valley
July 13 Monday to Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm
Dawson Creek Dawson Creek
Provincial Court
Aug 17

Mon, Aug 17

Fri, Aug 21

9:30am - 4:30pm
Fort St. John Fort St. John
Provincial Court
Aug 18 Tue, Aug 18 - Thu, Aug 20 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Kamloops Kamloops
Provincial Court
July 11 Sat July 11, 18, & 25 9:30am - 4:30pm
Kelowna Kelowna
Provincial Court
July 13 Mon - Fri 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Prince George Prince George
Provincial Court
Aug 4

Tue, Aug 4 - Fri, Aug 7

Mon, Aug 10 - Fri, Aug 14

9:30am - 4:30pm
Richmond Robson Square Kitsilano
Secondary School
July 13 Mon - Fri 9:30am - 4:30pm
Surrey Kwantlen
Polytechnic University
July 13 Mon - Fri 9:30am - 4:30pm

All of these locations were assessed by an experienced professional consultantto ensure they meet the health and safety requirements established by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC. This work was done in consultation with the judiciary and stakeholders. The health and safety protocols put in place are available on the Attorney General’s website. These locations will be configured to accommodate physical distancing, however, to assist with that distancing the Court asks that only counsel, parties, and witnesses involved in the hearings before the Court, as well as members of the accredited media, attend these hearings.

Parties will be sent a new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location (including the address) of the hearing. Start times will be staggered so that all participants are not at the hearing location at the same time. Parties who receive a notice of hearing and require interpreter services for their hearing must contact the Violation Ticket Center at 1-877-661-8026 prior to their hearing date.

Anyone appearing for a hearing must be in full compliance with all of the Provincial Health Officer’s Orders or directions regarding COVID-19. The Court’s Notice to the Profession and Public 22: Resuming In-Person Proceedings During COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols applies to these hearings (with the exception that some parts of that Notice are specific to court locations such as the references to court registries). Participants should review NP 22 and should be aware of the following:

  • Those entering will be subject to a verbal screening process by the Sheriff Service.
  • Participants in a proceeding are encouraged and permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the Judicial Officer, if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the Judicial Officer and the sheriff may or may not wear a mask.

Please continue to check our website as we are continuing to identify other locations in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in the Province to schedule traffic matters. Any further sites we locate will be subject to the same guidelines as set out in this Announcement

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Effective date: 12 June 2020
CRIM 13

PRACTICE DIRECTION

INITIAL APPEARANCE COURT DURING COVID-19

Purpose

Further to NP 19 Notice to the Profession and Public C0VID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations (Notice) the Provincial Court will be resuming initial appearance court (IAR) for criminal matters. At the same time, the Court remains mindful of the need to protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining meaningful access to the Court. The purpose of this Practice Direction is to set out some guidelines to govern the resumption of IAR while ensuring that people only come to IAR in-person when necessary.

Application

This practice direction applies as follows. The Notice was unclear about whether IAR matters scheduled from June 15 to July 3, 2020 were adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” to that Notice.

To clarify, for the Fraser, Interior, Northern, and Vancouver Regions, IAR will recommence at all reopened court locations effective June 15, 2020.

For the Vancouver Island Region, IAR will recommence at all reopened court locations effective July 6, 2020. If an individual has a matter scheduled in IAR from June 15 to July 3, 2020, they do not need to attend court and their matter will be adjourned as set out in Appendix “A” to that Notice.

Directions

Alternatives to in-person appearance

1. To reduce the number of people attending court, counsel attendance at court should be limited to appearing on a matter scheduled in court where something substantive is happening. Counsel must endeavor to avoid unnecessary personal attendances of the accused or counsel at the courthouse wherever possible.

2. The Consent Arraignment form (Form 4) may be used as an alternative to an in-person appearance for adult criminal matters for entering not guilty pleas, elections, as well as for setting dates for preliminary inquiries, trials, hearings and/or pre-trial conference (if the matter will require more than half day of court time).

3. If the only purpose is to adjourn a matter to another date, neither counsel nor their client should attend court. The Consent Requisition form (Form 1) may be used to: change, cancel or call-ahead a non-trial appearance; indicate a guilty plea; set a date for sentencing; or schedule an application before a judge.

To email any of these forms to the Court see the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice for email contact information.

4. See CPD-1 and CRIM 08 for further information about these forms.

In Person Appearances

1. For those cases where in-person appearances are necessary, the following processes will apply.

2. Legal Aid:

  • Legal Aid BC (Legal Aid) intake workers will not be present at courthouses.
  • Where Legal Aid duty counsel is present at courthouses they will assist the accused. Assistance may include:
    1. describing the process;
    2. assisting the accused to connect with a lawyer;
    3. collecting contact information that will allow the lawyer and accused to connect; and,
    4. assisting to have the accused adjourned to another date.
  • The process by which the accused will be adjourned will depend on procedures determined at the applicable local court location.
  • It is not expected that files will be resolved on these appearances.

3. Duty counsel will not provide legal representation where counsel has already been retained, whether privately or through Legal Aid, unless specifically requested to do so by counsel and/or the accused.

4. At the accused’s first court appearance, an abbreviated disclosure package may be available at locations where Crown counsel are appearing in person. Full disclosure will subsequently be available electronically upon request to Crown counsel by counsel for the accused. Self-represented litigants will be requested to contact local Crown counsel offices by email or telephone to schedule the pickup of paper disclosure packages.

5. If the matter needs to be adjourned, it will generally be adjourned for at least six to eight weeks so that by the next court date, the accused is in a position to do something substantive such as fix a date for a trial or pre-trial conference or resolve the file.

6. Defence counsel, upon accepting a Legal Aid contract, must advise the Crown counsel office responsible for the prosecution that they are representing the accused. Defence counsel are encouraged to do so in writing.

7. Counsel must communicate with each other before any court appearance so that the appearance will result in something substantive happening. If not, counsel must adjourn the matter to another date without the parties having to attend court.

8. Court appearances are not required to obtain disclosure.

Pre-trial conferences

1. There will be mandatory pre-trial conferences before a judge for all initial appearance court matters that are being arraigned for more than a half day of court time in order to determine how the matter will proceed.

2. For further direction see: Criminal Practice Direction (CRIM 12): Criminal Pre-Trial Conferences During COVID-19.

History of Practice Direction

  • Original Practice Direction effective June 12, 2020.

I make this practice direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379.

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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Effective date: 12 June 2020
CRIM 08

CRIMINAL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT RULES

SIMPLIFIED FRONT END PROCESS (2013)
FORMS AND PROCEDURE

NOTE THAT THESE FORMS ARE OPTIONAL FOR COUNSEL

COVID-19 Alert: The Judicial Case Manager’s office operates on a remote basis only at this time and documents should be sent by email. See the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice (NP 19) for email contact information.

Accessing the Forms

The forms can be found on the Ministry of Attorney General, Criminal Court Forms website at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/courthouse-services/documents-formsrecords/court-forms/criminal-court-forms.

The Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms work with Adobe Reader 9.0 or higher. Adobe Reader can be downloaded without charge from the internet. Note that the forms are fillable and saveable.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 is best used to access the forms, although other web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome) may be used. Note that when using alternate web browsers it may be necessary to download the forms to be able to view and use them.

Signatures

Counsel (Crown and Defence) signatures are not required on the Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms.

Forms do not specify signature required. Counsel may sign if they wish to but still need to provide the printed names and contact information in the appropriate sections on the forms.

Email Submissions to the JCM

When submitting a form by email to the JCM, counsel are expected to copy opposing counsel so both will receive an email copy of the submitted form, and so the JCM can reply to all to provide confirmation to all counsel as to whether the form has been accepted.

When replying to an emailed form, JCMs will reply to all by email to inform all counsel whether the form has been accepted or not.

JCMs may reject the form for various reasons including an incomplete form or if received too late to process.

Consent Requisition, Consent Remand and Consent Arraignment forms – the Court will accept these completed forms by email, fax or in person to the JCM.

Deadline for Form Submissions

The Practice Direction indicates that the forms are to be submitted “no later than 12:00 noon of the business day prior to the scheduled appearance.” This is the absolute latest time. Note that local cut-off times may vary based on in-custody transport issues.

When to use Forms 

  Consent
Requisition
Consent
Remand
Consent
Arraignment
Consent Required Yes Yes Yes
For use by Defence, Crown Defence, Crown Crown
Signatures Required No No No
For Out-of-Court Use Yes Yes Yes
Submitted by parties to JCM Office JCM Office JCM Office

Form 1 - Consent Requisition

  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • Defence may appear as agent or designated counsel
  • Submit to JCM
  • To be used to change, cancel or call-ahead a non-trial appearance, indicate a guilty plea, set a date for sentencing or schedule an application before a judge
  • Used when a personal appearance is not required in court  Crown and Defence counsel agree to a return date, time, reason and method

Form 3 - Consent Remand

  • For use only on appearance date
  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • All counsel agree in-custody accused is not required to make an in-person appearance
  • Crown and Defence counsel agree to a return date, time, reason and method
  • Defence to appear as agent or designated counsel
  • Can be received by JCM 
  • NOT to be used to vary bail

Form 4 - Consent Arraignment

  • Not for use by self-represented litigants
  • For Adult Criminal matters only – not to be used for Youth matters
  • Defence to appear as agent or designated counsel
  • For use as an alternative to in-person appearance
  • If submitted and accepted prior to the pre-set arraignment event, JCM to vacate the future arraignment appearance
  • Used for entering not guilty plea, elections, setting dates for preliminary inquiries, trials, hearings and/or pre-trial conference (if matter will require more than half day of Court time)
  • For multi-accused files, separate forms must be prepared for each accused
  • For one accused with multiple Information numbers, separate forms must be used for each Information number sequence

History of Notice

  • Original notice dated December 01, 2013.
  • Amended notice dated February 23, 2015
    • Changes to formatting;
    • Title of notice changed from “Provincial Court Scheduling Project - Notes for Forms and Workflows - December 2013”; and
    • Numbered notice as CRIM 08.
  • Amended notice dated January 18, 2016
    • Expands the availability of Form 4 (CPD-1) Consent Arraignment for use in the Vancouver Island and Northern Regions, instead of Victoria and Western Communities only;
    • Adds “Consent Arraignment Workflow - Process for Counsel”;
    • Adds last bullet under heading “Form 4 - Consent Arraignment”; and
    • Changes title of first section from “Adobe Versions” to “Accessing the Forms” and adds paras. 1 and 3 to that section.
  • Amended notice issued on August 22, 2018 and effective October 1, 2018
    • Removes Form 2 (CPD-1) Applications to Vary Bail by Consent.
  • Amended June 12, 2020 to expand and revise the use of consent arraignment, consent remand and consent requisition forms.
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Effective Date: 12 June 2020
No. 2013/CPD-1

PRACTICE DIRECTION

CRIMINAL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT RULES
SIMPLIFIED FRONT END CRIMINAL PROCESS (2013)

COVID-19 Alert: The Judicial Case Manager’s office operates on a remote basis only at this time and documents should be sent by email. See the contact information for the applicable local JCM Office here or see Appendix “A” of the Notice (NP 19) for email contact information.

Purpose

The Criminal Caseflow Management Rules (CCFM Rules) were first approved by OIC 1356/99 pursuant to section 482(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. The objectives of these rules included reducing time to trial, more effective use of judicial resources and increasing accessibility of the Court.

In 2012, the Court began the Provincial Court Scheduling Project which, in its first phase, focused on simplifying the front-end process. To support the changes, the CCFM Rules were amended in 2013, see OIC 484/2013. The Court continues to be committed to the efficient, effective and equitable use of judicial resources and the simplification of the process with the goals of improving accessibility and supporting the administration of justice in the province. The 2013 revisions reduce administrative processes by supporting the introduction of the new trial scheduling platform and allowing the Court to introduce new efficiencies to make the best use of judicial resources.

This Practice Direction supports the objectives of the 2013 revision to the rules and process. These directions will be interpreted in a manner consistent with the intention and spirit of the requirements of the Criminal Code of Canada and the CCFM Rules. I make the following Practice Direction pursuant to my authority under the Provincial Court Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 379, and Rule 3 of the CCFM Rules.

Download the Practice Direction.

 

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Further to the Provincial Court’s May 26 and May 29, 2020 Announcements, the following update ismade to Part V of NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations.

V. TRAFFIC, TICKETOR BYLAW MATTERS

Traffic, ticket and bylaw matters, with hearings previously scheduled for March 18, 2020 and thereafter, are adjourned for rescheduling without the disputant having to attend Court. Parties will be senta new notice of hearing that will include the date, time and location of the hearing. The Court is in the process of developing these new dates, times and locations and will provide further information as soon as possible.

Disputants have the options of:

  1. Filing Written Reasons including a request for a fine reduction and/or time to pay
    (link to form: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/courthouse-services/court-files-records/court-forms/traffic/ptr022.pdf).
  2. Paying the fine(s) on the ticket

The timeline to pay fines related to a Provincial Court traffic, ticket, or bylaw case is extended to June 30, 2020.

To dispute a violation ticket and have a trial date assigned as a future available court date, the Disputant can download a form and mail it in to: Ticket Dispute Processing, Bag 3510, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P7.

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Effective Date: 05 June 2020
NP 22

Purpose

Further to our Announcement of May 26, 2020, the Provincial Court will resume in-person proceedings for priority matters that cannot be accommodated remotely on a staged and incremental basis beginning June 8, 2020. The Court remains mindful of the need to protect the health and safety of all court users and help contain the spread of COVID-19, while maintaining access to the Court. This Notice outlines the health and safety protocols that will be in place in the courtrooms. It is subject to amendment if there are changes in the COVID-19 situation in British Columbia. Judges, Judicial Justices, and Judicial Case Managers (“Judicial Officers”) have the discretion to direct more detailed precautions depending on the circumstances of a particular court proceeding.

Summary

The health and safety protocols that will be implemented follow the initial orienting principles on safe and accessible courts approved by the federal Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19, which say: “[The Public Health Agency of Canada] recommends employing a hierarchy of control measures, conceived of as a reverse pyramid, to effectively mitigate risk. This approach reflects the requirements of applicable federal, provincial, and territorial occupational health and safety legislation. Elimination of the hazard is the first control measure to be considered. Consequently, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing is the foundation for any risk mitigation strategy. Additional elements can be introduced where physical distancing is impossible or insufficient.”

The Provincial Government has retained the services of a private consultant to assist in identifying the necessary steps to modify courtrooms and courthouses to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. Please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s webpage summarizing the steps Government has taken to ensure everyone’s safety at all resumed inperson proceedings, including the steps they are taking regarding the verbal screening process with respect to COVID-19 for people entering courthouses, cleaning protocols, and social distancing protocols inside the courthouse.

All persons attending courtrooms will be required to participate and cooperate to attain the recommended COVID-19 health and safety protocols. This includes practicing physical distancing, sanitizing hands upon entry of a courthouse or courtroom, and adhering to all other recommended health and safety protocols and directions.

The Provincial Court will continue to assess the situation on an ongoing basis. We thank all of the stakeholders who have provided input and information regarding the resumption of priority in-person proceedings. We recognize managing the physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court participants and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Notice

1. Addressing instances of symptomatic participants

Counsel and self represented parties must be in a position to confirm at the opening of a proceeding, and at the start of each day of the proceeding, that to their knowledge, no one involved on their side (including counsel, the party, the accused or witnesses) has any symptoms of illness that may be related to COVID-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control website advises that the symptoms of COVID-19 can include the following:

  1. fever
  2. chills
  3. cough
  4. shortness of breath
  5. sore throat and painful swallowing
  6. stuffy or runny nose
  7. loss of sense of smell
  8. headache
  9. muscle aches
  10. fatigue
  11. loss of appetite
  12. less commonly, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

During and after the proceeding, if counsel and self-represented parties become aware that anyone who has been present in court has experienced any symptoms related to COVID-19 or that anyone has come into close contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 during the previous 14 days, they must notify the relevant public health officials and the local courthouse manager and follow any directions provided.

2. Witnesses

Prior to the proceeding, counsel or parties must determine if any potential witness is reluctant to attend court due to health-related concerns or for other reasons related to the public health emergency. If you become aware of this information in advance of the scheduled proceeding, parties should arrange to address the question of whether the witness can give evidence by other means, such as by affidavit or testimony by telephone or videoconferencing, etc.

3. Courtroom Layout

The physical layout of the courtroom, including the position of counsel and the witness will be altered where possible to maintain a safe physical distance between all participants. Where physical distancing between all parties in the court can be achieved through the movement of furniture, plexiglass barriers will not be necessary. In areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained, barriers will be installed. The ability to move within the courtroom, such as by approaching a witness, will be restricted for physical distancing purposes.

Communication between counsel and parties

Counsel must consider how they intend to confer with co-counsel and their clients in the courtroom while maintaining a safe physical distance. Counsel should seek direction from the presiding Judicial Officer to communicate with co-counsel or their client by text message or another method that would not normally be acceptable in court.

Water

There will be no water jugs available in the courtroom during a proceeding. Counsel, parties, interpreters, and witnesses will be permitted to bring their own water in clear plastic bottles that are no larger than one litre in volume. Persons who bring their own water bottles should dispose of or remove them when leaving courtroom. Sheriffs will provide water for in custody accused.

Public and media

In order to maintain a safe physical distance in the public gallery between members of the media and public, the number of seats available will be reduced. If counsel or a party is aware of anyone who intends to observe all or part of the proceeding, they should advise those individuals that while the court remains open to the public, seating is limited, and entry into the courtroom will not be permitted if the safe physical distancing requirements cannot be maintained.

4. Facial Masks and Coverings

Participants in a proceeding, including counsel, parties and witnesses, are encouraged and permitted to wear a mask or protective face covering in the courtroom if they wish to do so, subject to direction from the Judicial Officer, if removal of a mask is necessary in order for the participant’s evidence or submissions to be heard and understood. Participants should be aware that the Judicial Officer, the sheriff, and the court clerk may or may not wear a mask in the courtroom.

5. Oaths or Affirmations

All witnesses testifying in court will presumptively affirm. If a witness wishes to give evidence under oath rather than by affirmation, they must bring a Bible or other religious book or sacred object to court, and take the article with them when leaving court. There will be no Bibles or other religious books available in the courtroom.

6. Documents, Exhibits, and Authorities

Pre-trial conferences will include a discussion about measures that can be taken to reduce the number of physical exhibits entered, including a discussion around whether documents can be provided electronically.

Any party needing to handle an exhibit can use tissues provided and/or use hand sanitizer after handling the exhibit. Gloves may also be available in some locations.

Counsel and self-represented parties must make every effort to limit documentary evidence and case authorities to those that are truly necessary. The Court has always discouraged the practice of filing binders of documents as exhibits that may not be referred to in evidence; that practice is particularly discouraged in the current circumstances. For books of authorities, counsel should include only those cases to which they need to, and will, refer.

Movement of documents and exhibits in the courtroom where unavoidable

Where the passing of copies of documents or physical exhibits to others in the courtroom is unavoidable, counsel and self-represented parties must use the hand sanitizer available in the courtroom to sanitize their hands before and after handling the documents. In addition to hand sanitizer, there may be a supply of gloves in the courtroom for anyone who wishes to use them, as well as instructions for the safe use, removal, and disposal of gloves.

In order to maintain a safe physical distance between counsel, the court clerk, and the witness, documents and exhibits should be placed on the document table before the court clerk and the Judicial Officer enter the courtroom. Where this is not possible or appropriate, at the time a document or exhibit is to be handed up, counsel or self-represented parties must place it on a document table and then return to counsel table at which point the court clerk will pick it up and hand it to the Judicial Officer or witness.

7. Cleaning and Sanitation

Government has retained additional daytime cleaning services during this COVID-19 period to ensure that the high touch areas in courtrooms and courthouse are cleaned frequently.

The courtroom will be cleaned at the end of each court day, including the witness box, accused box, counsel tables, court clerk desk, the judicial bench, public seating areas, and all other areas of the courtroom where people sit. A porter will clean and disinfect all touchpoints after each user (witness, accused, counsel, party, clerk, and Judicial Officer).

A courtroom attendant will wipe down the witness box, including the microphone, horizontal surfaces of the stand, armrests, and handrails after each witness finishes their testimony and at the end of each court day.

In order to facilitate the cleaning of counsel tables, the court requests that counsel who are appearing over multiple days on a particular matter remove their materials from the courtroom each night. If this is not possible or practical (e.g., because of the volume of materials), counsel should pack up their materials into boxes and store them underneath the counsel table.

Hand sanitizer will be available at the judicial bench, counsel tables, the witness stand, and the clerk’s desk. All people attending court will be expected to use hand sanitizer frequently and will be required to apply sanitizer upon their entry to the courtroom.

For more information and details about cleaning protocols, please refer to the Ministry of Attorney General’s webpage.

8. Steps being taken to reduce the number of people attending court

In person registry services remain suspended. For most cases, the processes set out in NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations, including remote proceedings and limited fillings, will continue. Please check the Court’s website regularly for updated directions and notices, including about new filings that will be accepted.

Counsel attendance at court should be limited to those counsel who are appearing on a matter scheduled in court that day, where something substantive is happening. Counsel are encouraged to connect with witnesses and clients in advance of attending at the courthouse to ensure that the matter will proceed on the date scheduled, and that all of the court participants are not exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19. If the matter will not be proceeding, please contact the Judicial Case Manger immediately to advise them. If the only purpose is to adjourn a matter to another date, neither counsel nor their client should attend court. Rather, in these circumstances, please see NP 19 COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations and FAM 07 CFCSA Consent Requisitions for the processes to adjourn matters remotely. Counsel are also encouraged to obtain a designation of counsel on all indictable offences.

The Judicial Case Manager’s office operates on a remote basis only at this time.

History of Notice to the Profession and Public

Melissa Gillespie
Chief Judge
Provincial Court of British Columbia

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In order to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Provincial Court of BC is holding urgent family, child protection, and small claims hearings by telephone instead of in person. We are also working towards being able to offer some hearings using video technology, when that is appropriate for the parties involved and their case.

The Court has issued guidelines for people taking part in telephone or video hearings, and this eNews explains some of the procedures a judge may use in these hearings.

Technology

We are now holding urgent hearings by telephone, but we are working on being able to hold video hearings as well, using Microsoft Teams. Once we have that capability and until in-person hearings can resume, the judge will decide whether to conduct your urgent hearing:

  • by telephone
  • using Microsoft Teams, an online platform for an audio hearing (sound only)
  • using Microsoft Teams for a video hearing (sound and video images)

In this article, we’ll use the term “remote” to refer to a hearing held in any of these ways.

The Court’s Guide to Remote Proceedings (telephone and video) NP21 contains advice on how to use your telephone for a hearing. It also contains a step-by-step guide to connecting and using Microsoft Teams (see Appendix “A”), for use once we begin conducting hearings this way.

Conduct expected

Everyone taking part in a telephone or video hearing should read the Court’s Guide to Remote Proceedings (telephone and video) NP21. It contains advice on etiquette and guidelines for taking part in a remote hearing.

Evidence

The evidence a judge will consider in a remote hearing will consist of any affidavits (written statements that are sworn or affirmed to be true) and other documents that have been filed (sent to the court), provided the judge considers them relevant to the issues in the hearing.

If you have provided an affidavit that has not been sworn or affirmed, the judge will probably ask you to swear or affirm that it is true during the hearing.

In some cases the judge will permit spoken testimony to be given during a remote hearing. That means a party or witness will take an oath or affirm to tell the truth and then talk about relevant facts. They may be questioned by their lawyer if they have one, the judge, and/or by the other party or their lawyer.

Procedure

When one or both parties are representing themselves, the judge may adjust traditional courtroom procedures to meet the needs of the people taking part and the limitations imposed by the telephone or video format.

If both parties have lawyers, the procedure may be more like a courtroom hearing. See these articles on family and small claims hearings for information on traditional courtroom procedures and how they are sometimes modified:

Whatever procedure is used, the hearing will have a structure to ensure it is fair, complete and orderly. The judge needs to get all the important information from both parties in a logical way.

A telephone or video hearing may include some or all of these steps. The judge may:

  • ask everyone taking part to introduce themselves, spell their first and last names, and confirm their mail and/or email address (If you have security concerns about revealing your address, tell the judge.)
  • ask if anyone other than the parties and their lawyers is present or listening (In a family court matter, children should not be able to hear any part of a remote hearing.)
  • confirm that no one is recording the hearing (You are not permitted to audio- or video-record any portion of a telephone hearing. The BC Courts’ Policy on the Use of Electronic Devices sets out penalties for recording, including prosecution. If you need a transcript of a hearing, it is possible to order one from the transcription service for your court registry.)
  • explain the procedure they intend to use and explain the order in which the parties or their lawyers will speak
  • impose time limits to ensure everyone has a chance to be heard during the time available
  • tell you which written materials they have received and will be considering (If the judge doesn’t mention this, you may ask.)
  • if anyone has filed an affidavit that has not been sworn or affirmed to be true, ask them to swear or affirm that it is true
  • if anyone will be testifying, ask them to swear or affirm that their evidence will be true, or ask the court clerk to have them swear or affirm
  • ask questions during the hearing to help them understand each party’s case
  • state their decision and explain it at the end of the hearing (In some cases, a judge may need more time to consider their decision. If so, they will tell you how you will receive their decision and reasons.)

Whatever procedure is used, each party will have a chance to speak, say what they’re asking for, and explain why. If there are important questions you think the other party should be asked, tell the judge. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may not permit the parties to question each other, but you can ask the judge to ask the other party important questions.

Province of BC
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From the Ministry of Attorney General

Working with the judiciary and other justice and public safety-sector stakeholders, government is moving to safely support increased in-person hearings.

“COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for court users and justice sector partners,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Working with the judiciary, we are assessing courthouses to determine the best approach to protect the health of court users. Each courthouse is different, but this might mean measures such as marking floors to indicate distances in lines at registry, elevators, washrooms and inside courtrooms, and disinfecting courtrooms after use.”

Courthouses and courtrooms throughout the province are being assessed to ensure they meet the health and safety requirements established by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC. Assessments will also determine what additional physical distancing and hygiene measures will be required to stop the transmission of COVID-19, prior to resuming in-person appearances. Plans may differ by location and courthouse configuration.

As part of these assessments, additional health and safety measures being considered include, but are not limited to:

  • reconfiguring and removing furniture to open space in courtrooms and to keep people physically distant from one another;
  • adjusting maximum occupant levels to account for physical distancing requirements;
  • marking floors to indicate the directional flow of movement and places to stand while maintaining appropriate physical distancing at the registry, in elevators and washrooms, and inside courtrooms and courthouses;
  • posting clear and visible signage throughout the courthouse and courtrooms to ensure court personnel and users are aware of and are able to follow health and safety protocols;
  • verbally screening court personnel and users for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure prior to entering court environments;
  • establishing protocols for handling documents and evidence;
  • installing hand sanitizer stations at courthouse entrances, outside courtrooms and in elevator lobbies;
  • placing hand sanitizer bottles in courtrooms at the dais, counsel desks, the witness stand and the clerk's desk;
  • disinfecting courtrooms after use; and
  • frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces in courtrooms and in public areas throughout the courthouses.

The ministry is in the process of meeting with stakeholders, including judges, counsel, court managers and others, to make recommendations and implement changes necessary to keep the public safe when attending court. 

This work is occurring now, with the expectation that within the next few weeks, a limited number of courtrooms will be available throughout the province for in-person hearings

The ministry has also been working to increase technology enhancements outlined in the Court Digital Transformation Strategy. This includes continued expansion of technology for virtual hearings in cases where it is deemed appropriate.

In addition, the Province has also established two advisory groups to help government support courts and tribunals in delivering services as effectively as possible during the pandemic, and in minimizing its impact on the justice system.

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ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SOLICITOR GENERAL

Emergency Program Act

Ministerial Order No. M162

WHEREAS a declaration of a state of emergency throughout the whole of the Province of British Columbia was declared on March 18, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic;

AND WHEREAS individuals in British Columbia must be able to make enduring powers of attorney and representation agreements in a manner that reduces the threat of COVID-19 to the health and safety of persons;

AND WHEREAS section 10 (1) of the Emergency Program Act provides that I may do all acts and implement all procedures that I consider necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of any emergency or disaster;

I, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, order that the attached Electronic Witnessing of Enduring Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements (COVID-19) Order is made.

Download the Ministerial Order.

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ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SOLICITOR GENERAL

Emergency Program Act

Ministerial Order No. M161

WHEREAS a declaration of a state of emergency throughout the whole of the Province of British Columbia was declared on March 18, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic;

AND WHEREAS individuals in British Columbia must be able to make wills in a manner that reduces the threat of COVID-19 to the health and safety of persons;

AND WHEREAS section 10 (1) of the Emergency Program Act provides that I may do all acts and implement all procedures that I consider necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of any emergency or disaster;

I, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, order that the attached Electronic Witnessing of Wills (COVID-19) Order is made.

Download the Ministerial Order

LAND TITLE AND SURVEY AUTHORITY (LTSA)
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In response to our customers’ feedback, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) has updated the list of supporting documents for which a true copy may be used in place of the original document. True copies accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic now include:

  • Certificate of Vesting under section 262 of the Land Title Act. (May 15)
  • Provincial or Federal Transfer and Administration of Control (May 11)
  • Notice of Human Resource Facility Act signed under the direction or authority of the Minister (May 11)

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, current information about land title practice matters will be posted to our website at https://ltsa.ca/covid-19-resources and Twitter account @LTSABC.

The LTSA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers while ensuring our business operations continue as usual. Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

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In response to our customers’ feedback, and further to the guidance provided on March 26, 2020, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) has updated the list of supporting documents for which a true copy may be used in place of the original document. True copies accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic now include:

  1. Form Y Owner Developers Notice of Different Bylaws
  2. Form W – Schedule of Voting Rights
  3. Affordable Housing Agreement

Minor changes have also been made to the Director’s E-Filing Directions.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, current information about land title practice matters will be posted to our website at ltsa.ca and Twitter account @LTSABC.

The LTSA is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers while ensuring our business operations continue as usual. Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

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Following the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) announcement of March 31, PB 01-20 Process for Remote Witnessing of Affidavits for use in Land Title Applications has been revised to provide further direction on affidavits as supporting documents attached to a Declaration form.

Practice Bulletin 01-20 has been updated with the following revisions: 

  • Amended approvals to include the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia

  • Removed the certificate from paragraph 8 and amended and combined the content in paragraphs 8 and 9 to provide further direction on affidavits as supporting documents attached to a Declaration form